Featured Rider: Casey Dahlstrom

Why do you participate in the Ride for Roswell?

I’ve been fighting back against cancer for over 30 years, since I was diagnosed at 3 years old. 30 years later, I am now the caregiver for my mother. I fight because it is necessary, and to create a better tomorrow.

What is your favorite part about Ride weekend?

Riding over your name at the start of the Peloton (knowing the impact of your fundraising), and finishing the ride to a cheering crowd and rolling over your own name amongst a sea of survivors at the finish line? It’s the best emotional roller coaster I’ve ever been on.

What have you been doing to raise funds for the Ride?

To meet my goal each year of riding in the Peloton, I exchange artwork I complete for donations, as well as spreading awareness of my fight online for the world to see.

Out-of-the-box fundraising: Check out Ellen’s story

Sign that says, "All proceeds go to Ride for Roswell"

Out-of-the-box fundraising: Check out Ellen’s story

Ellen and her family gather around a branded sign at the Ride for Roswell.
Table of goods at Ellen's garage sale. There is camping gear, tools, and a beer cooler.

Hitting your fundraising goal can seem difficult, especially if you haven’t fundraised before. While Facebook is one great tool to spread the word and rally people, it’s not the only way — just ask Extra Mile Club member Ellen Geitter.

Ellen has been participating in the Ride for Roswell for nearly a decade. In recent years, she has been joined by her sisters — Mary, Megan and Karen — and two nieces. The Ride is their way of honoring their mother who passed away from small cell adenocarcinoma, an aggressive lung cancer. Through clinical trials at Roswell Park, their mom turned a two-year prognosis into eight years, and the sisters feel strongly about giving back in her memory. This year, Ellen her family will be Riding Their Own Way along a thirty-mile route between Utica and Rome, NY, on the Erie Canal.

Ellen had already raised more than $1,200 for Roswell Park, but with the weather warming up, she saw an opportunity to do even more in the fight to end cancer. She and her sisters sifted through tons of items, and Ellen asked herself, ‘What do I need? What don’t I need?’ They ended up with a lawn full of treasures and the idea of donating all the profits to the Ride for Roswell.

“I’m a blessed person, and I want to pass that along. If this can be in service of that and move me along, then it’s worth it,” Ellen says.

At the end of the weekend, Ellen and her family raised more than $3,300 from their garage sale. How are you fundraising to end cancer this summer? Let us know on social media!

Featured Team: Cycling for Sue

Why does your team ride in the Ride for Roswell?

2019 was Team Cycling for Sue’s first year riding. The previous fall after only five months we lost my wife Sue and my children Kody and Teal’s mom to the horrible disease of lung cancer. My brother Jeff suggested to me that we ride in her memory. It was and still is a very emotional event to participate in as all the memories of her come flooding back. While originally riding for her, hence the name Cycling for Sue, since then we have lost a number of friends and family to some type of cancer and it has opened up our eyes to see how so many are effected by Cancer. While the team is still Cycling for Sue, we ride in memory of all those that we have lost and for those that are fighting to survive.

What does leading a team mean to you?

Leading the Cycling for Sue team gives me comfort that quite possibly the funds we raise might save someone’s life and have someone advert the loss of a loved one. Sue was about helping others. Whether it was with a meal, a friendly call or a shoulder to cry on she was always there for others. I know she is looking down on us and smiling for all that we are doing for others.

               

What is your favorite part about Ride weekend?

My favorite part of the Ride Weekend is that it gets so many people together for such a great cause. While tears flow with the memories the ride also teaches us that so many are helped at Roswell and that it is Roswell that gives someone the chance to ring the bell!

Sam Accordino: Riding His Own Way in Alaska

Sam Accordino:
Riding His Own Way in Alaska

Cancer impacts every one of us, but for Sam Accordino, that six-letter word has irrevocably shaped his life.

Sam’s daughter Casey was always strong-willed. The oldest of three, she took the lead in all things involving her younger brothers, Nick and Max. She proudly donned mismatched socks and loved watching her favorite sports teams, especially the Bills, Sabres and Bisons. She was outspoken yet honest. As a kid, she managed to get caught by her parents every time she skipped school. As a young adult, she worked as a social worker and gave selflessly to others, bringing hope to those around her.

“She came into the world screaming, and she ruled the roost,” Sam says. “She really was a fun-loving kid — a giving, caring and wonderful person.”

Even as she battled cancer, Casey sought ways to uplift others, joining groups at Roswell Park like the Young Adult Cancer Program and making friends with nurses and patients alike. She was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2013 and underwent surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation at Roswell Park. She entered remission. Thinking she had it beat, she looked forward to the next phase of her life and marked the occasion by marrying her best friend, Kevin.

But cancer had its own plans. In October 2017, Casey’s cancer returned, much more aggressive this time. At the same time, her mother was diagnosed with endometrial cancer.

Sam's Reason(s) Why

Sam’s daughter will always be his first and foremost reason why — the driving force behind his desire to end cancer. Casey’s journey isn’t the only one that’s impacted Sam, though. His 94-year-old mother survived both breast and ovarian cancer, and Sam recently learned that he has prostate cancer. Sam’s wife, Annette, discovered that she had carcinoma and went through treatment at the same time as Casey. Annette and Casey alternated rounds of chemo so they could care for one another, though they occasionally shared a room and an IV stand.

After additional surgeries and rounds of chemo, Casey passed away on October 27, 2018, three weeks after her 32nd birthday.

On top of everything else, Annette also learned that she has the BRCA2 gene — the gene that carries a high risk of developing breast cancer. As a preventative measure, Annette underwent a double mastectomy. The couple is trying to get ahead of cancer any way they can.

“I’ve had heartache, and I’ve had successes,” Sam says. “I wish the outcome would’ve been different for Casey, but unfortunately that’s how life is. Cancer affects a lot of people.”

Fighting Back

One of the ways Sam is working to get ahead of cancer is by participating in the Ride for Roswell. His goal is two-fold: honor Casey and work toward a world where fewer people have to say goodbye because of cancer. He’s doing that by riding and fundraising for Roswell Park, the institution that supported his family during some of their most difficult days.

“A lot of people don’t know about the numerous services Roswell Park offers like pastoral care, wellness activities or grieving sessions,” Sam says. “We still get together with some of the people we’ve met through Roswell.”

Sam aimed to raise $5,000 dollars toward cancer research, a milestone he’s already exceeded. The achievement will be rewarded with an engraved brick in Kaminski Park. He will dedicate that brick to Casey and her unwavering strength.

Riding in Alaska

When Sam decided to participate in the Ride for Roswell this year, he wasn’t sure how to make it work. The event takes place on June 25, the same day he planned to be on the other side of the continent. For the past three years, he and his wife had been trying to get away to Alaska, but the trip kept getting postponed due to family conflicts and the ongoing pandemic. The pair finally booked their vacation — on the same day as the Ride. That wasn’t going to stop Sam.

With the Ride Your Own Way option, Sam can participate in the Ride for Roswell from Anchorage, Alaska. His game plan is ambitious: He’ll ride in the Peloton during Celebration of Hope on Friday, June 24, at the University at Buffalo, hop on a plane Saturday morning and rent a bike as soon as he lands. Sunday morning, he’ll set off on the Tony Knowles trail, an 11-mile path along the coast of Anchorage that passes forests, vistas, earthquake fault lines and Mount McKinley, North America’s highest peak.

“I plan on doing the whole 22 miles unless a moose gets in my way, which is a real possibility,” Sam says, laughing. “It’s going to be a cool adventure.”

When he finishes his ride, Sam plans to celebrate with his wife and friends while remembering Casey, his strong-willed daughter who loved her family, husband Kevin and dog Charlie, and fought with everything she had.  

Ride Your Own Way like Sam or join the Ride for Roswell in person on June 25.

Featured Rider: Vincent Black

Why do you participate in the Ride for Roswell?

My father, Bob Black, has two kinds of cancer. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia, and non-malignant melanoma. At least every six months, my dad goes in to Roswell Part to check on his WBCs to make sure his leukemia is under control. The staff at Roswell Park have always been accommodating, and the environment they provide for their patients brings comfort beyond what we’ve seen in other hospitals. I remember when his first blood test showed an elevated WBC count, I went with him to his first appointment at Roswell. It was mid-morning, and we were sitting in the lobby, Tim Horton’s in hand, waiting anxiously to be called back. In the lobby, there’s a piano that we noticed when we walked in. While we were waiting, a man sat down and started to play a tune. That was how we found out about the “Music in the Lobby” program, with a melody bringing calm to a stressful morning. I’m participating in the Ride for Roswell to help support programs like that, and to fund research to improve patient outcomes.

What is your favorite part about Ride weekend?

This is my first ride! My favorite part is going to be taking it all in and experiencing it firsthand.

What have you been doing to raise funds for the Ride?

I’ve been reaching out directly to my friends, family, and colleagues to solicit donations. I don’t have a big social media presence, so I’ve taken a more personal touch!

Contact.

Office address.

Elm and Carlton Streets
Buffalo, NY 14263

Phone number.

716-THE-RIDE
(716-843-7433)

Proceeds directly benefit: