Longtime volunteer Doug Citron reflects on years of service

Longtime volunteer Doug Citron reflects on years of service

The beginning.

The importance of service to others is something Doug Citron learned at a young age working on the Variety Club Telethon.

“I was raised in my family that you volunteer,” Doug explained.

He carried that value with him into adulthood and getting involved with Ride for Roswell seemed like a natural fit.

“I’ve been involved with Roswell Park my whole life. My father was a doctor, and my brother is an oncologist. My wife, Jill, retired from Roswell Park after more than 30 years. My father-in-law was a longtime patient and I have been a patient myself.”

Ride for Roswell began in 1996, thanks to another passionate volunteer – Mitch Flynn.

Doug and Jill joined the cause a few years later.

Doug at Ride for Roswell
Early Ride for Roswell photo
Doug with Mitch Flynn and other volunteers

Growing with the Ride.

Doug became a Ride for Roswell volunteer in the event’s early days. He started out in the team tent area – before being pulled to help with the parking lots.

“Back then, there were only three parking lots. Now, we have every parking lot on campus,” Doug laughed.

This new role aligned perfectly with Doug’s 30 years of experience in law enforcement and security. He leaned on his expertise and connections to build relationships with local agencies and develop the parking system that is still in place at the event.

Doug also pushed for more opportunities for other volunteers to utilize their professional skillsets, just as he did.

As the Ride continued to grow, so did Doug’s involvement. Among his tasks, he started a volunteer committee and encouraged the creation of a full-time volunteer coordinator position.

A family tradition.

Doug not only volunteered alongside his wife Jill, but his children also took on roles at the Ride.

“It’s been the greatest thing for me. It was a way of having a great family reunion,” Doug explained. “Our children in Buffalo and their families participated and our daughter Betsy and her husband would fly in from wherever they were living to work the Ride.”

After the Ride, Doug and Jill would even host a thank-you party for the volunteers with typically more than 100 people.

“I love the volunteers, the people,” Doug added when asked what kept him coming back for so many years.

Passing the torch.

Heading into the 2023 Ride for Roswell, Doug and Jill are ready to pass the torch to the next generation of volunteers.

While their involvement is changing, Doug says the Ride will still be a present force in their lives.

“It will never stop. People know me from the Ride and it doesn’t matter what restaurant I go into or what social event, the Ride is the number one topic of conversation. It will always be there.”

He looks back on his many years of service fondly, and he has a message for other people looking to join the cause.


Doug accepting an award

“You’re probably going to work harder than you’ve ever worked, but you’ll come away with the best, most amazing feeling.”

Over the years, the Ride has raised tens of millions of dollars for life-changing cancer research, clinical trials and treatments. That would not have been possible without volunteers like Doug.

“Nobody ever dreamed that it was going get this big and raise this much money,” he said. “It’s a privilege to be a part of Ride for Roswell.”

The Ride Team thanks you, Doug, for your years of incredible dedication and service!

Safety tips for Ride Weekend

Safety tips for Ride Weekend

Safety is the top priority at Ride for Roswell whether you’re riding five miles or 100 miles. You can take steps now to help make sure you and the people around you have the best Ride Weekend possible! Check out these safety tips for before and during your ride.

Rider at Ride for Roswell

Pre-Ride Preparation.

Check your bicycle.

  • Pull your bike out of storage and check the tires, brakes and chain.
  • Get your bicycle tuned up at a local bike shop. Our team believes this is well worth the cost! If you’re unable to take your bike to a bike shop, consider having a skilled family member evaluate your bike before Ride Weekend.
  • Purchase a spare tube that fits your tires to bring with you on Ride Day so if you get a flat, it can be fixed faster.

Riding in a longer route? Now is the time to start training!

  • Our Ride for Roswell team encourages training if you’re riding anywhere from 44 to 100 miles on Ride Day. Remember, for the 100-mile Country Route, you must be able to ride 65 miles in 4.5 hours (15 mph).

Reminders for the 44-mile Canada Route.

  • If you’re riding in the 44-mile Canada Route, follow your email instructions to submit secure personal travel documents data on time. Proper documentation is essential to safely crossing the border during your ride.

Get familiar with the apps.

  • For Ride, there are two critical mobile device apps that you can utilize for route navigation and emergency aid. It’s a great idea to review and activate these apps this spring to make sure you’re comfortable with them by Ride Weekend!
Woman at Ride for Roswell

Don’t forget to pack …

  • One or two sports water bottles that fit into the cages on your bike. Loose spring water bottles can fall out and create crash hazards for others.
  • A fully charged cellphone.
  • A cycling helmet!
  • Your Ride for Roswell rider bib.
  • Personal ID packet in a waterproof bag.
    • Driver license/ photo ID
    • Health insurance card
    • Emergency medical alerts
    • Credit card or cash
    • Travel documents (for Canada Route)

On the ride.

  • Remember, you are sharing the roads with cars. Ride to the right, on the shoulder with no more than two bicycles side by side. Be prepared to ride single file when cars need to pass you.
  • Follow the route guides! There are police, fire police and volunteer route guides at some intersections. Be prepared to stop as directed.
  • At intersections that have no police or volunteer staff, follow all traffic signs and rules.
  • On the start line, all riders start together. After a few turns, riders spread out and ride in small groups. No one is leading the Ride. Use your map, cue sheets, RWGPS navigation and follow the orange route arrows signs.
  • All routes “split” where longer routes keep going and shorter routes turn around. These route splits are marked with big mileage number signs and orange turn direction signs.
  • Dress for the weather in bright, high visibility clothing.
Route Guide at Ride for Roswell

Ensuring the safety of riders is essential to continuing our mission to end cancer. We can’t wait to Ride with you this summer!

Ride for Roswell Spirit Week 2023: Everything you need to know!

Ride for Roswell Spirit Week 2023: Everything you need to know!

What’s the best way to show your love for the Ride before Ride Day? Spirit Week!

Spirit Week runs from Monday, March 27 through Friday, March 31. Activities include a 24-hour fundraising challenge, sharing Ride photos from years past and, of course, wearing your Ride for Roswell swag!

You won’t want to miss out on the excitement!

Here’s a breakdown of each day.

Riders at Ride for Roswell

Monday, March 27: Matching Monday

The first 500 riders to raise $100 will receive a $100 matching gift courtesy of the West Herr Automotive Group. Don’t wait because this match will be over quick!

Tuesday, March 28: Team Up Tuesday

Are you ready for this Team Recruitment Challenge? Teams who recruit 10 or more members by Friday, March 31, will be entered to win a customized team T-shirt and Linde swag packs for all team members!

Are you a Roswell Park employee? Roswell Park teams that recruit 10 or more members by Friday, March 31, will be entered to win a catered team lunch! ID badge reels and cookie delivery will also start this day for employees who are registered.

Wednesday, March 29: Kickoff Wednesday

5 – 7 p.m. | Buffalo RiverWorks

All are welcome! Pick up your lawn sign at Kickoff if you’ve raised $100.

Also, if you hit $100 after March 29, you can pick up your lawn sign at one of the participating Tops Markets locations. See the full list here

Thursday, March 30: Throwback Thursday

We want to see your favorite Ride photos from years past! Be sure to tag us on Facebook and Instagram!

 

Friday, March 31: FUNdraising Friday

Wear your Ride for Roswell swag to participating local restaurants and breweries including Big Ditch, Hartmans, and Hofbrauhaus to receive 10% off of your purchase during Happy Hour from 5 – 8pm.

The 10% off your purchase will be available all day at the following SPOT Coffee locations Hertel, Elmwood, Delaware, Clarence, Williamsville, Orchard Park and Amherst.

This is a photo for the Ride letters and flags at Ride for Roswell.

Ride Season is gearing up, and we can’t wait to celebrate with you! Together, we are riding to end cancer.

See you on Ride Weekend!

Meet Maryann Salvadore: The 2023 Ride for Roswell Torch Lighter

Meet Maryann Salvadore: The 2023 Ride for Roswell Torch Lighter

Maryann Salvadore was diagnosed with end-stage cancer when she was 44. But even during the fight for her life, she has always strived to bring people together and create a safe space for the ever-growing community of those affected by cancer. That’s who Maryann is, and that’s one of the many reasons why she has been selected to lead us as the 2023 Ride for Roswell Torch Lighter.

Marcus, Mark and Maryann
Team Salvadore at Ride for Roswell for the first time in 2011

Maryann’s journey.

It was 2009 when Maryann learned she had an aggressive form of multiple myeloma. She was a full-time business owner and mother to then 12-year-old Marcus. At the time of her diagnosis, the cancer had already metastasized throughout her body, attacking 90% of her bone marrow.

For the following nine months, Maryann spent every other day at Roswell Park, between six to 12 hours per day. She leaned heavily on her husband Mark, who took her to all of her appointments.

“We had never expected a medical center to be filled with such compassionate people,” she remembered. “It was so uncommon to come across somebody who wasn’t looking you in the eye, talking to you, calling you by your first name and treating you like you were a friend or family member.”

Fast forward to 2011, treatment continued. One day in early spring, as Maryann was undergoing chemo, she and Mark noticed signs for Ride for Roswell.

Per Mark’s suggestion, they decided to start a team. Once Maryann, Mark and Marcus registered, they sent out an email letting people know they signed up for Ride for Roswell.

“Before we even left chemo, people started joining,” said Maryann.

That first year, their team had 45 people. And so, the tradition was born.

Team Salvadore Pedal Power.

Every year, Team Salvadore Pedal Power averages between 60 and 80 members, but their team tent always has more than 100 people. That’s because Maryann has always wanted her team to be a community, a place where anyone dealing with a cancer diagnosis can feel welcome.

“Our team is about letting people know that there’s hope,” said Maryann. “We all want to take away the power the cancer holds over the people we love, and I wanted people to feel comfortable sharing their stories.”

Since 2016, her team has also been responsible for enhancing one of the most impactful elements of the Ride – the finish line. Along the pavement, members of Team Salvadore Pedal Power write the names of every rider who has designated themselves as a cancer patient or survivor. In 2022 alone, that was 714 riders. It’s a visual representation of what bring us all together at the Ride.  

“When you have cancer, so many things are taken away from you. This is something those riders can share with their friends and family,” Maryann explained with tears in her eyes. “Some people are in the middle of treatment on that bike, doing everything they can because it’s so meaningful to prove this is another thing cancer is not going to take away from them.”

Due to the type of cancer Maryann has, she’s never been able to actually ride, but that hasn’t stopped her from becoming an integral part of what makes Ride for Roswell so special – a person who embodies inclusion and compassion.

Recent Team Salvadore photo
Team Salvadore at Ride for Roswell

Amplifying voices.

Over the last 13 years, Maryann hosted countless gatherings, fundraisers and picnics leading up to Ride for Roswell. She is a source of solace and support for many people living with cancer, caring for a family member or grieving the loss of a loved one.

“I meet so many phenomenal people who inspire me,” said Maryann. “Everybody knows someone they care about and love who has gotten a cancer diagnosis, and not everybody is as lucky as me.”

As the 2023 Torch Lighter, she wants to use her unique position to put a spotlight on a larger message.

“The information that we’re learning from the research that they’re doing at Roswell Park is making treatments easier on people. It’s giving people like me a decade more than I would have gotten anywhere else and at any other point in time, but the work is not done. There are so many people who deserve so much better.”

That’s why she is a part of the Ride: because every dollar raised drives research that will change lives.

“I’m so grateful to be here, and because I am here, I just want to try to figure out ways to make life easier for everybody else,” Maryann added. “If you know somebody who has cancer, you give them your love and support, but how you help all cancer patients – is you Ride for Roswell.”

Lindsey Gold, cancer survivor and registered nurse: Why I Ride

Lindsey Gold, cancer survivor and registered nurse: Why I Ride.

Lindsey Gold's team at Ride for Roswell
Lindsey riding at Ride for Roswell

Few moments in life mirror the vulnerability of those spent at a chemo infusion center.

That’s where Lindsey Gold works as a registered nurse at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. She’s the person who administers chemo, immunotherapies and other medical necessities for outpatient cancer patients.

With each visit, Lindsey brings her expertise, knowledge and compassion. But, she also brings deep understanding – because she’s been the patient in this scenario, too.

At 24 years old, Lindsey was diagnosed with stage IV Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her cancer journey included chemotherapy and radiation. After eight months of treatment, she was cancer free.

“It’s sometimes hard not to wonder how I was lucky enough to go into remission. I have struggled with survivors’ guilt in the past. Especially with many close family members and friends who have battled cancer or lost their lives to this awful disease,” Lindsey explained.

Joining the fight to end cancer.

Channeling her gratitude into a movement, Lindsey started riding in Ride for Roswell in 2008.

“I felt I truly owed my life to Roswell. I wanted to do anything I could to repay them for my second chance at life.”

Lindsey also rides in memory of loved ones who passed away due to cancer, including her grandmother, father and uncle.

“My beautiful Grandma Pat who dedicated her life to helping others, also battled breast cancer. She was taken from us at only 60. She was a youth counselor for the Town of Tonawanda School System. When she passed, a young adult came up to me and asked if I was her granddaughter and proceeded to tell me, “Your grandmother saved my life.” Words I will never forget! That made me so proud of the person she was, and that will always inspire me in me my nursing practice with my patients.”

“My beautiful Grandma Pat who dedicated her life to helping others, also battled breast cancer. She was taken from us at only 60. She was a youth counselor for the Town of Tonawanda School System. When she passed, a young adult came up to me and asked if I was her granddaughter and proceeded to tell me, “Your grandmother saved my life.” Words I will never forget! That made me so proud of the person she was, and that will always inspire me in me my nursing practice with my patients.”

“My dad was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at 60 years old. Upon diagnosis he was immediately admitted to Roswell Park. He spent most of the next four months inpatient at Roswell. He passed away early on the morning of Ride for Roswell that year. Our hearts broke. We were given very little time to fully wrap our heads around losing him so quickly, and unfortunately never getting a real chance to say goodbye. He was a wonderful man, with the biggest heart. To know him truly was to love him.”

“My dad was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia at 60 years old. Upon diagnosis he was immediately admitted to Roswell Park. He spent most of the next four months inpatient at Roswell. He passed away early on the morning of Ride for Roswell that year. Our hearts broke. We were given very little time to fully wrap our heads around losing him so quickly, and unfortunately never getting a real chance to say goodbye. He was a wonderful man, with the biggest heart. To know him truly was to love him.”

“Shortly after I was diagnosed, my Uncle Mark confided in me that he was battling esophageal cancer, and that he was given a short amount of time left to live. He was my closest uncle, and an unbelievable local musician and artist. He taught me his love for The Beatles, and how to be comfortable in my own skin. It still breaks my heart to know that I was somehow able to come out on the other side alive, while he was preparing to lose his life to cancer at the exact same time.”

Lindsey’s impact.

When Lindsey committed to Ride for Roswell nearly 15 years ago, she started a ripple effect. The weekend event has grown into an annual family tradition of making a difference in the future of cancer research.

“Every year my sister even flies in from California to ride by our side.”

Lindsey says over the last several years, she personally has raised more than $38,000 dollars. Her team, as a whole, has raised more than $124,000.

It’s the mission that keeps her coming back every Ride Season. She explained, “We Ride to fund new treatments for these patients to be given hope for a cure and a future without cancer.”

Lindsey at her team flexing at Ride for Roswell
Lindsey at Ride for Roswell

Message to other Roswell Park employees.

Lindsey’s main piece of advice to other Roswell Park employees considering getting involved in Ride for Roswell is to attend the Celebration of Hope the night before the Ride.

“Hear the patients’ stories, where the funds go, feel the passion and the emotion in the air that night. It is one of my favorite things about the Ride. It always is a firm reminder of exactly Why I Ride.”

She swears after one Ride Weekend, you’ll become a “lifer” like her – and love every second of it!

Keeping up the momentum.

When Lindsey was diagnosed with cancer, she never could’ve imagined the impact she would have in the lives of others dealt the same card.

As a nurse at Roswell Park, she sees why the Ride matters every day – and she knows there is still work to be done.

“I think of my patients who tell me their stories every day at work – how some of them are completely out of options.” She added, “The Ride helps to give you some power against cancer. I’m so grateful I am able to participate and pay my dues back to Roswell, ride my heart out for my family and friends this disease has taken from me, and to cry some tears that day knowing we are riding toward a future where cancer no longer exists.”

Lindsey holding a sign saying she's riding for herself