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 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.”
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.”
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.”