Chris Eberle, an active light in the Ride’s legacy

Chris Eberle, an active light in the Ride’s legacy.

Ride Weekend evokes different feelings from each participant. For some, it’s action. For others, it’s remembrance. For many, it’s hope.

Nothing brings together all those emotions better than the Celebration of Hope, an event that wouldn’t have been possible without longtime volunteer and cancer survivor Chris Eberle.

The upcoming Ride for Roswell marks two milestones for Chris: 15 years of service and six years cancer free.

Chris Eberle during her cancer treatment. Chris is a longtime volunteer with Ride for Roswell

A partnership begins.

Chris first began her partnership with Roswell Park in the early-2000s when she owned a design and communications firm. She was brought on to help educate the public about what it meant to be a comprehensive cancer center and the important work being done at Roswell Park.

The more she learned, the more she wanted to get involved. Soon after, she started volunteering for the Ride. Chris served on the steering committee and brought her marketing expertise to the forefront.

“When I started, the Ride didn’t have a website yet. We developed the website and the ability to register online.”

As the Ride grew, Chris’s role evolved. For example, she played a pivotal role in turning the Ride into a two-day event.

“The Ride is always on Saturday. Then we thought that we really needed another component, so we decided to have an opening ceremony and it was in the University at Buffalo Stadium. It was a way to honor the researchers, clinicians, patients and survivors and nurses.”

That was in 2012. A few years later, with Chris’ leadership, the Friday night ceremony would see another evolution into what we now know as the Celebration of Hope.

The ceremonial torch at the Celebration of Hope at Ride for Roswell
This is a photo of the flame that lights the ceremonial torch at Ride for Roswell

The Ceremonial Torch.

“For my 10th anniversary with the Ride, I wanted to do something memorable, something to give back to the Ride.”

Chris was the visionary for the ceremonial torch, which debuted for the first time at the Celebration of Hope in 2017.

“The flame represents the patients and survivors. It represents the compassion of our nurses and our clinicians. And it represents the brilliance of our researchers.”

Chris explained the torch would serve as a kickoff to the Ride. Much like the Olympic torch, it would stay lit from Friday night until the last rider came in on Saturday.

“And we still do that to this day,” Chris said with a smile.

The Ride team and committee, including Chris, also developed the Peloton, a Friday night ride exclusively for Extra Mile Club (now Extra Mile Club Silver) members. That route starts at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and finishes at UB right before the commencement of the Celebration of Hope.

“The [Peloton riders] bring a little light from downtown and we light the torch with that light making the connection between Roswell Park and the Ride.”

That idea that Chris spearheaded remains the central focus of Ride Weekend. While she watched it come to fruition for the first time, its message resonated even more deeply than she could’ve imagined.

Chris’s cancer battle.

One week before the Ride’s inaugural year for torch lighting, Chris was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“The day we set up the torch for the first time was my first biopsy.”

Chris underwent a year of treatment including chemotherapy, surgery and radiation.

“It was grueling. You lose your hair, and I was told I was going to have one of the hardest chemotherapies. You just hope you make it through.”

As Chris was nearing the end of her treatment in 2018, she was honored as the Ride for Roswell Torch Lighter.

Chris lighting the same torch that she led the creation of just one year prior became a moment that reminds us all why the Ride matters: why we must continue to fight for more treatments, more research and more memories – like this one.

“It was relieving in a way to light the torch the next year because I thought, man, I made it. It was pretty amazing.”

Chris Eberle lighting the ceremonial torch at the Celebration of Hope during Ride for Roswell.
This is a photo of Chris Eberle after lighting the ceremonial torch at Ride for Roswell.
In this photo Chris Eberle is celebrating after ringing the Victory Bell at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Continuing the mission.

Shortly after the Ride in 2018, Chris rang the Victory Bell at Roswell Park, marking the end of a transformative chapter.

“I have to say, there are days that I don’t want to be reminded of my cancer, but I wouldn’t give up working for the Ride. Roswell Park saved my life.”

Message to other volunteers.

Chris’s influence on the Ride will be felt for generations to come. When asked what she would say to someone considering getting involved, she didn’t hesitate.

“Once you’ve experienced Ride weekend, you’ll never be the same. The passion, compassion and dedication of every participant, from riders, to survivors, clinicians, researchers and nurses is extraordinary. It is truly a rewarding experience to know that you are making a difference by volunteering in the fight to cure cancer.”

Chris will have another full-circle moment at the upcoming Ride. Volunteers from all of Roswell Park’s events will be invited to the 2023 Celebration of Hope, as a thank you for their dedication and commitment to the cause.

“We couldn’t raise as much as we do every year if we didn’t have all of the volunteers, and all of that money is going to save somebody in your family someday.”

This is a photo of Chris Eberle hugging Dr. Candace Johnson at Ride for Roswell.

Why you should become an Extra Mile Club Member

Why you should become an Extra Mile Club Member

Do you want to go the extra mile for cancer patients? Become an Extra Mile Club member!

This is a rider at Ride for Roswell who is a member of the Extra Mile Club

How it works.

When you raise $1,500 or more for Ride for Roswell, you instantly become a member of the Extra Mile Club (EMC). This club is open to anyone with a passion for change and dedication to our mission to end cancer.

This photo shows two Extra Mile Club members at Ride for Roswell

Perks for EMC members.

In addition to the tremendous sense of pride you’ll have from becoming an EMC member, there are some additional perks as well!

EMC members receive:

  • Exclusive access to the Extra Mile Club tent
  • Official Extra Mile Club jersey
  • Official Extra Mile Club hat
  • Complimentary dinner at the Celebration of Hope
  • Name listed in the 2023 Ride Magazine
  • VIP parking
  • All Rider Rewards below $1,500

There’s also an opportunity to earn an even higher designation as an EMC Silver member. EMC Silver is for riders who raise $2,500 or more.

EMC Silver members receive:

  • Official Extra Mile Club Silver jersey
  • Exclusive access for you and a guest to the Extra Mile Club Silver tent on Ride Day
  • Admission to the Peloton on June 23 (pending all requirements have been met)
  • Invitation to the Kathy & Joe Curatolo Pathways Park event celebrating top fundraisers and teams
  • All Rider Rewards below $2,500

Hear from current EMC members!

Don’t just take it from us, here’s what other Ride EMC and EMC Silver members have to say.

My favorite part about being EMC Silver is the Peloton and the start of the Ride. It’s such an honor to be a part of this group of passionate riders/fundraisers, it’s so moving to launch from outside of Roswell Park, and so touching when we raise the cards with patients’ names up to the windows. While we can never really see them, but knowing that they are there looking down on us is so powerful.” – Rob Goldberg

“Getting donations for my Ride for Roswell was easy. Not because I am a supreme fundraiser or have extreme skills. It was easy because of the person I am riding in memory of, Jean Marie Gimbert, my sister-in-law. Her passing last year impacted a large family and huge circle of friends. Jean only saw the best in others and a kind word was her trademark. So, all I had to do was let a few people know that I was riding in her memory and they could go to my page and donate and we watched the donations accumulate. When you ride for someone you care about enables you to access a variety of people they touched in their lives. The family, friends, and employment network are a good beginning. Neighbors are an often-untapped resource.” – Peter Pasnik

Worried about fundraising?

No problem! Your Ride Community is here with advice.

Social media makes it so easy now, even if you just share a link to your fundraising page and post about what you’re doing, that’s a great start.”Gabrielle Acosta

“Push your fundraising through social media. I have raised all of my funds through Facebook and have pivoted around my birthday and other special occasions.  Just ask often – it works, and you’ll be successful!” – Rob Goldberg 

“What you find out is a lot of people have either had their own experience or family experience with cancer, and people want to help. It’s actually a lot easier than you realize as soon as you start putting yourself out there and letting them know about the cause. Remind people. Remind people. Remind people.”John Heimback Jr

This is a photo of Extra Mile Club members at Ride for Roswell, including Mitch Flynn, founder of Ride for Roswell.

And that’s not all!

Our Ride for Roswell fundraising team is here to help you each step of the way.

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 716-843-7433 or email us at

Your $1 donation turns into $23 in cancer research funding

Your $1 donation turns into $23 in cancer research funding

This photo shows Dr. Gudkov of Roswell Park in a lab doing cancer research.

There are many powerful ways to support Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center’s goal of freeing our world from the fear, pain and loss due to cancer. One of those ways is riding in or donating to the Ride for Roswell. That’s because the funds raised by the Western New York community each year at the Ride are put to work immediately, fueling cutting-edge cancer research and quality-of-life programs for cancer patients and their caregivers.

Roswell Park has the best and brightest researchers and doctors who have come from around the world to Buffalo, New York to dedicate their life to studying and treating cancer. Donations to Roswell Park through the Ride for Roswell enable breakthrough cancer discoveries and bring new treatments from the bench (lab) to the bedside (patients).

We’re proud to say that for every dollar donated to cancer research, Roswell Park is now able to leverage an additional $23 from external grants toward that research. This is thanks to the support of the Ride and the hard work of Roswell Park researchers.

How cancer research funding works

Cancer research requires a lot of work, resources and investment. With the great wealth of talent among Roswell Park’s researchers and scientists, there are a lot of promising ideas brewing. Many of these discoveries are only able to move forward with the support of donations.

Each year, Roswell Park scientists apply and compete for grants from the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation through the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). The SAC process is led by Drs. Mukund Seshadri and Kirsten Moysich, who select an internal objective group of peers to sit on the committee based on expertise and areas of research. Reviewers are asked to thoroughly evaluate and consider the scientific promise of each application. The most promising grant applications are awarded with donor-raised funds to allow scientists to continue their cancer research.

This seed money is used for researchers to obtain primary research data and, in turn, apply for larger national grants. The initiatives that receive support often lead to long-term funding from national organizations and new treatments.

Leukemia Lab Environmental, cancer research

Impact of fundraising at Roswell Park

Since 2011, the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, with funds from Ride for Roswell, has awarded over $16 million to researchers through the Scientific Advisory Committee through 245 grants to 146 scientists.

These grants have led to the publication of 167 papers, the start of at least 20 clinical trials based on homegrown science at Roswell Park and the investment of over $96 million in external grant funding.

That means that for every dollar donated to cancer research, Roswell Park receives an additional $23 in external funding for cancer research.

The dedication and commitment of riders, donors and volunteers is driving work in state-of-the-art labs that fuels discoveries that are changing the future of cancer.

Social Media Fundraising: Integrating with Instagram

Social Media Fundraising 101

Facebook recently made it much easier to share your Facebook fundraiser on Instagram, but funds from Instagram are not displaying in the Ride for Roswell dashboard

Here’s what you need to know.

Already set up your Instagram fundraiser?

If you’ve already set up an Instagram fundraiser, we can help you get credit for the amount raised. Please reach out to us at with the following information from your Instagram fundraiser:

  • Your full name
  • The names of all of your donors
  • The Instagram usernames of all your donors
  • The individual amounts raised by each donor
  • The date of each donation

From there, we will manually post the donations to your account. This can take up to four weeks, as we are unable to post a donation until we receive the payment from Instagram. Please keep this in mind for the cut-off dates for the Peloton and your rewards. 

Instagram sends donations monthly with no information regarding the donor or recipient. That’s why your help is so important.

Shows the main Instagram fundraising page.
Show the donors who have donated to the fundraiser through Instagram
Instagram story

Why it's happening.

When you switch your fundraiser from Facebook to Instagram, however, the integration to your Ride for Roswell fundraising page gets lost.

The funds are sent to the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation (the non-profit organization that runs the Ride for Roswell), but they don’t reflect on your Ride for Roswell page.

For that reason, it’s best to avoid using Instagram fundraisers.

Here’s what you can do instead:

  1. Stick with fundraising on Facebook or directly through your Ride for Roswell page.
  2. Copy the link from your Ride fundraising page (see below) and paste it to stories or your bio on Instagram (create a story, click the “stickers” button at the top, and select “link” to paste your URL).
Shows the Ride for Roswell page where you can copy your URL

Ride for Roswell boosts quality of life for cancer patients

Ride for Roswell boosts quality of life for cancer patients

At Roswell Park, we’re committed to improving cancer patients’ quality of life; caring for the whole person, not just treating their disease. Our work doesn’t end at medical treatment, but encompasses the mental, emotional and spiritual wellness of our patients, as well.

When you participate in or donate toward Ride for Roswell, you’re making it possible for Roswell Park experts to run Quality-of-Life Programs like these, and more!

HLA Typing

Before a patient receives a bone marrow transplant, they need to go through human leukocyte antigen (HLA) typing to find a donor with the best genetic match. This process is not typically covered by health insurance when a patient needs to find a donor who is not a familial relative. Through a Quality-of-Life grant, made possible by the generosity of donations, patients have financial support through their HLA typing and transplant process.

This photo shows a cancer patient receiving treatment at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

Fertility Preservation Program for Young Adult Patients

When a young adult is battling cancer, it’s often their top priority and concern to eliminate the cancer. But cancer treatment or cancer itself can have a negative impact on a patient’s fertility or reproductive system. Through the Fertility Preservation Program, Roswell Park helps patients keep a hopeful eye on their futures and the possibilities that lie ahead. Through the generosity of donors, patients can speak with fertility experts to find the best solution for their life before treatment begins.

This is a photo of Elevate Salon at The 11 Day Power Play Resource Center at Roswell Park.

The 11 Day Power Play Cancer Resource Center and Elevate Salon

Going through cancer treatment can be one of the toughest times in a patient and their loved ones’ lives. Thankfully, donors fully fund The 11 Day Power Play Cancer Resource Center at Roswell Park to ease some of the stressors faced. There, patients and caregivers are greeted with warmth and compassion. They can access educational materials, comfort items and various resources to help them through their cancer journey. To accommodate for the growing patient population, Roswell Park also recently opened the Elevate Salon where experts help patients navigate hair loss. These essential spaces put patients’ needs first and allow for a safe place to take a deep breath and gather strength.

Creative Arts Team

Researchers at Roswell Park found that dedicated exposure to art improves patients’ hope and mental well-being and decreases their anxiety. The Art Heals Gallery, a curated space for patients and their loved ones to relax and immerse themselves in work by some of the area’s best artists, is fully supported by donations. The Creative Arts Team at Roswell Park is committed to providing not only incredible artwork for patients to enjoy, but art in which they can actively participate, as well, like art kits for inpatients, creative events and other experiences.

Transportation & Translation Services

Roswell Park is committed to giving patients the best possible care. If those patients can’t get to Roswell Park or have barriers to communication when they arrive, they can’t receive the care they need. Powered by donor funding, Roswell Park’s Transportation & Translation Services helps our patients access critical cancer care who might not be able to do so otherwise. There’s an increasing number of patients at Roswell Park who don’t have reliable transportation and a growing population of patients in need of translation support. Now more than ever it’s crucial to provide these services so everyone can have access to the best cancer care available to them.

This image shows a driver in a Roswell Park vehicle, one of the transportation services offered through our quality of life programs.

Two-time cancer survivor preparing for his 19th Ride for Roswell

Two-time cancer survivor preparing for his 19th Ride for Roswell

John Heimback Jr. didn’t hesitate when asked about his passion for Ride for Roswell

“What keeps me coming back is we’re not done.”

John is a two-time cancer survivor, and this summer he’ll be riding in his 19th Ride for Roswell.

Two-time cancer survivor John Heimback is posing next to his name on the finish line at Ride for Roswell.
Two-time cancer survivor John Heimback is with his daughter and wife in front of the sign at Ride for Roswell.

The start of John’s Ride story.

John rode in his first Ride for Roswell in 2004. He joined his family team, the Rainbow Riders, in honor of his aunt who was a patient at Roswell Park battling multiple occurrences of tonsil cancer.

At the time, John had no idea the cause would soon become even more personal.

“Little did I know, just a short eight-to-nine months later, I would find out I had stage III thyroid cancer,” John explained. “So suddenly cancer hit home and in a big way.”

John’s treatment included radiation and surgery to remove his thyroid; then he returned to the Ride for a second year. “At the start line, they asked anybody who’s a survivor to raise their hands. That was the moment it all got really real,” he reflected.

Over the years, John got more involved in the Ride as both a participant and a volunteer. He even served on a steering committee in the event’s early days. He describes the Ride Community as a support group of sorts, with each person motivated to make a difference.

“Cancer can’t win.”

John has been in remission from thyroid cancer since 2005, but his second cancer diagnosis would come a decade later. This time, it was prostate cancer. Under the care of Roswell Park and Dr. Khurshid Guru, John survived. His own experience, yet again, adding more fuel to his fire in the mission to end cancer.

“Not only have I survived cancer twice, but now it’s two different cancers. Both were pretty aggressive, but I’m here to share my story,” said John. “God has blessed me to be in a spot where I have to carry on the fight.”

He wants more people facing a cancer diagnosis to benefit from up-and-coming treatments, the way he did, and he knows funding for research is what drives those lifesaving discoveries.

John is standing with and Dr. Khurshid Guru, who treated him for prostate cancer at Roswell Park. They are at the Ride for Roswell in this photo.
John and his daughter with their Ride for Roswell lawn sign.
John and his wife

John’s fundraising advice.

Fundraising can be intimidating, especially if you haven’t done it before. Over John’s nearly two decades of riding, he has learned personalization is key.

“What you find out is a lot of people have either had their own experience or family experience with cancer, and people want to help. It’s actually a lot easier than you realize as soon as you start putting yourself out there and letting them know about the cause.”

In his early years, John would write personalized letters to friends, family and colleagues about Ride for Roswell and his cancer story. Now, he says email is his main source for garnering donations, but he also thinks social media can be useful to riders.

His main piece of advice: “Remind people. Remind people. Remind people.”

John now rides on M&T Bank’s team, where he has been an employee for 23 years.

Crossing the finish line.

As John approaches his 19th Ride for Roswell, the weekend still holds tremendous power.

“When you’re there, the opening night, the Peloton, there’s really nothing like that.”

One of John’s most memorable Ride moments happened just last year, when he rode alongside his daughter Hailey in the 2022 Peloton.

“We held hands going across the finish line. It was just incredible.”

John will be back in 2023, and so will Hailey.

“When I go to the Ride it gives me that energy again. Like, this is why I have to keep going – because I’m able to,” John explained. “Each year, we’re getting one step closer to ending cancer.”

John and his daughter crossing the finish line at Ride for Roswell, a cycling fundraiser to end cancer.

East Side Bike Club: Riding to make a difference

East Side Bike Club: Riding to make a difference

Every year there are hundreds of teams that join the Ride for Roswell.  While some teams have been returning to Ride for several years, the Ride Community is always expanding.

In 2023, East Side Bike Club (ESBC) made a commitment to the cause by creating a team for the first time.

East Side Bike Club at IceCycle
East Side Bike Club Slow Roll
East Side Bike Club at IceCycle
East Side Bike Club at MLK Park

Team Captain Karen Huffman says several of their members have ridden as individuals over the last few years, but this year they’re excited to do Ride Day together as an organized group.

“Our team really is a family,” Karen stated.

One of the main reasons they’re getting involved in Ride for Roswell is reflective of why ESBC was founded in the first place: community representation.

“The East Side is not always well represented in many aspects, including the biking world,” said Karen. “It’s important to get us out there. It’s also important to let people know that the East Side exists and that it still needs a lot to catch it up to the rest of Buffalo on every front, including cancer research and cancer treatment.”

George Johnson, the founder of ESBC, agrees.

“It’s important that we are there so that we can send a message to our community,” said George. “I know that early detection with cancer is vitally important. I have some cancer survivors in my family, and I know of a lot of cancer survivors, but often times when we should get tested or checked out for things, especially as black people, we often think, ‘Well that’s for them, and it’s not for us.”

George wants to change the conversation and encourage more people to learn about cancer, how to protect themselves and when to seek help.

With a mission to educate others and build relationships, a partnership was born between ESBC and Ride for Roswell.

Getting involved and growing.

Members of ESBC are on a roll participating in Roswell Park events. They came out in a large number at this year’s IceCycle, and had a blast spinning at RiverWorks.

“That was so fun! None of us went in there knowing what to expect other than to dress in layers, but once we got going, we were laughing and having a great time,” said Karen.

Now, they’re in recruitment season for Ride for Roswell!

Karen says they’re talking to people one-on-one about the Ride and the mission, with more people joining every day. They’re also utilizing social media as a recruitment tool.

George added, “We try to tell them that it’s important to come and get involved. We encourage them as best as we can to get on a bike, but for people who don’t want to ride, you can just come and be around the people. You can pass out information.”

East Side Bike Club at IceCycle
Karen Huffman at IceCycle

Riding with purpose.

When asked what she was looking forward to most on Ride Day, Karen answered, “Just spending time with our team and knowing that we’re all together raising money for cancer research, which affects everybody across every population. It doesn’t discriminate.”

George echoed similar sentiments.

He explained, “The Ride is something to collaborate to bring people closer together so they can see the bigger picture. More importantly, we’re building a partnership that’s necessary to bring awareness.”

Both Karen and George hope Ride for Roswell becomes a tradition for ESBC. They have a desire to inform and engage their community, while doing their part in the mission to end cancer.

“We’ll be celebrating with a lot of joy. We’ll be posting information. We’ll have a lot of fun at the Ride,” said George. “Buffalo is the City of Good Neighbors, and we try to do the best we can to display that.”

Get ready for Beers & Gears!

Get ready for Beers & Gears!

Ride for Roswell is excited to announce the official dates of the 2023 Beers & Gears happy hour series! Beers & Gears is a great opportunity to kick off your fundraising while enjoying drinks at some of WNY’s coolest breweries.

All Beers & Gears happy hours will take place from 5:00-7:00 p.m.

People at Beers & Gears 2022

It's easy!

  • All you need to do is pick a date to join us and invite as many people as you want to come, too!
  • The cost for each happy hour is $20, which will get you two drink tickets. The full $20 will then be credited to the rider’s fundraising page of your choice (yes, it can be your own).
  • Hofbrauhaus will be $10 with one drink ticket due to the size of the brews.
  • Ride for Roswell lawn signs and special team captain pennants will be available for pickup at each of the Beers & Gears events.
  • Are you an Extra Mile Club member? Don’t forget to take home your exclusive EMC lawn sign topper, too.

The more people you bring, the more you will raise! 

If you have any questions, please feel free to call us at 716-843-7433 or email us at

We can’t wait to celebrate with you!

Ride fundraising drives cutting-edge CAR T therapy at Roswell Park

Ride fundraising drives cutting-edge CAR T therapy at Roswell Park

At Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, scientists and clinicians are serious about finding the next cancer treatments today. With Ride for Roswell fundraising dollars behind them, they can urgently pursue the research and clinical trials that will become lifesaving standard-of-care treatments.

Your fundraising supports research at Roswell Park surrounding CAR T-cell therapy, a form of immunotherapy that uses reengineered cells to teach your body to fight its own cancer. This advancement was developed originally for blood cancers, but researchers are hard at work to apply this method to solid tumors, as well.

Roswell Park has been developing novel uses for CAR T-cell therapy, enhancing scientific discoveries that can change the way we treat cancer.

Expanding the way we can use this type of treatment will mean being able to reach more and more patients who are in need of some light in a difficult time. Patients whose treatments have maybe not provided the results they were hoping to see because of their particular makeup or type of cancer.



Renier Brentjens, MD, PhD
Marco Davila, MD, PhD
Photo of Bud

Some patients have already experienced the hope that CAR T therapy can provide. Patients like Bernard “Bud” Blocho have been given more time with their loved ones thanks to this cutting-edge science.

Bud is a devoted husband, dad and grandpa who has Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. When cancer returned after years in remission, Bud ultimately needed CAR T therapy at Roswell Park to rid his body of cancer once again.

Thanks to Ride for Roswell donors and participants, patients like Bud can spend more time enjoying their families and less time fighting cancer.

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!