Torch at Celebration of Hope

Cheryl's story.

Six months. That’s how long Cheryl Reinhardt’s doctor said she had left to live after diagnosing her with stage 4 ovarian cancer. The news took Cheryl back to the 1980s when her mom received the same exact diagnosis and passed away a week later. Cheryl assumed the worst — until her doctor referred her to Roswell Park. “I went down to the deepest depths, and all of a sudden I was lifted back up, because somebody at Roswell said, ‘Oh look — there’s sunshine. We’re not giving up.’ And they never gave up,” Cheryl says. That was in 2004.
Cheryl poses with partner

Eighteen years later.

Cheryl laughs

Eighteen years later, Cheryl’s still delighting in everything this life has to offer. That includes cooking, scrapbooking, trips to Disney World and exploring everything in Buffalo. She’s an adventurer and laugh enthusiast whose smile lights up the room.

(See? We told you!)

Cheryl has also been a proud supporter of the Ride for Roswell for 17 years alongside her wife, Barb (pictured with Cheryl above). All of this and more make Cheryl the perfect person to represent cancer patients and light the torch at the 2022 Celebration of Hope on Friday, June 24.

“I feel like I just climbed the biggest mountain. I have had cancer for 18 years, and I was happy to carry the flag, but to carry the torch — to light the torch — that’s like winning an Oscar. It’s the highest honor.”

Lighting the way.

Being the torch lighter is an honor that Cheryl’s ready to take on. She was already getting active in preparation for Ride Day on June 25. Now, she’s also lifting weights to build arm strength and perfecting her pose.

“I want to light that torch to say, ‘We’re going to light our way out of this ugliness. And we’re going be stronger than we were before.’”

Cheryl believes there will come a day when the word cancer isn’t quite so scary. She has seen firsthand what Roswell Park can do for patients and how far treatment has advanced over the last decades. At each phase of her 18-year cancer journey, she was offered a treatment option or clinical trial. These treatment options and clinical trials were available to Cheryl because of the advances in research that donations to the Ride have made possible.

Cheryl gives fist pump

Sometimes, Cheryl’s journey wasn’t easy. There were times when she was too sick to do her favorite things or when her immune system was too weak to be around people. But all of that brought Cheryl to where she is today. Now, she’s passionate about fundraising for the Ride to advance the research that has helped her.

“The Ride for Roswell means a lot to me, because I want them to continue their success,” Cheryl says. “They have already proven that they can do it, but we need to save more people. We can’t do that without funds.”

Team Fran's Angels.

Cheryl smiling

Named in honor of Cheryl’s mother, Team Fran’s Angels (of which both Cheryl and Barb are a part) has already started working toward a fundraising goal of $25,000. Visit the team page here.

Cheryl and Barb both hope to see you on Ride weekend, and Cheryl also has a little advice for first-time riders:

“Be prepared to be embraced with love! Eventually, you’ll know everyone at the Ride.”