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 Team: Team Skoden

For Whitney Ann Henry, forming a Ride for Roswell team marked the realization of a goal she set nearly two years ago. Along with her coworker and team co-captain, Josie Raphaelito, Team Skoden came to fruition. Skoden is a slang term used in the Indigenous community to mean “Let’s go then!” or “Let’s get after it.” The name aligns perfectly with their goal to support their department: the Center for Indigenous Cancer Research (CICR) at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Whitney Ann, the Indigenous patient navigation coordinator, and Josie, a research project coordinator, are both passionate about furthering the CICR’s mission of reducing cancer’s impact on Indigenous communities. They are also committed to bringing awareness within the Indigenous community of the resources available through the CICR.

CICR - Center for Indigenous Cancer Research Team

CICR Resources

A few examples include:

  • Colorectal cancer screening education classes
  • The Indigenous and Rural Patient Navigation Program: a free, non-clinical service for cancer care
  • Student internships
  • The Native CIRCLE Library, a virtual hub for culturally appropriate health education materials for Indigenous communities, scholars, researchers and educators
  • The Talking Circle, a podcast that focuses on Indigenous health and wellness
  • The Talking Circle webinar series featuring health and wellness experts and topics that are most important to Indigenous communities. Check for upcoming webinars or catch up on previous topics, including April’s talk featuring David R. Wilson, PhD, Director of Tribal Health Research Office, who discussed his work with building a unified presence between the National Institutes of Health and tribal leaders across the nation.

    Watch the webinars.

About Team Skoden

Whitney Ann and Josie have opted to have the funds they raise for the Ride for Roswell directly benefit the CICR to continue these efforts and advance the critical research and community services that will reduce the cancer burden within Indigenous communities. Cancer is one of the top leading causes of death for Native Americans in Western New York, so the work done through the CICR is critical.

Team Skoden has grown to include 14 riders with a goal to collectively raise $10,000 through the Ride for Roswell. Together, the team looks forward to joining thousands of other riders committed to making a positive impact.

“I’m riding for my whole reservation,” Whitney Ann says. “We always have Indigenous communities in mind, and we do it for them.”

Join Team Skoden or create your own team for the Ride! No team is too big or too small to make a meaningful difference.

 

 

Volunteer Feature: Meet Ginny

Meet Ginny, route guide and cancer warrior.

“I’m a cancer survivor by seven years. The colon cancer has been eradicated and the AML (acute myeloid leukemia) is under control. I attribute that to the good care I’ve gotten from Roswell Park,” Ginny Beyer says.

Inspired by her cancer journey and that of her cousin who fought childhood leukemia, Ginny decided to take a stand in the fight to end cancer. Alongside her husband, Roger, she signed up as a route guide for the Ride for Roswell — just to see what it was all about. Four years later, Ginny and Roger couldn’t imagine missing the event.

“I’ve got one of my Ride for Roswell T-shirts that says ‘survivor.’ Of course, it’s vibrant orange. I wear it everywhere, and people go, ‘Wow, congratulations!’ and I tell them about the event. So, Ride is a whole year-long thing now.”

Ginny and Roger set up post at the first turn on the Ride course, right after the cyclists exit the University at Buffalo. It gives the duo the chance to see people at the start of their journey, at a moment when their excitement is fresh and tangible. They see riders, young and old, of all different backgrounds and abilities. Ginny vividly remembers one rider who was tackling the 30-mile route while hooked up to oxygen.

“I thought, ‘Wow, you’ve courage, lady,’” Ginny says. “There’s story after story like that, of people showing their strength to fight cancer.”

Being a route guide gives Ginny the ability to motivate people and cheer them on while making sure the event runs smoothly. That role, in turns, brings her joy and allows her to have fun. You’ll often see Ginny and Roger decked out in full costume with red noses and cowbells, ready to delight riders as they take the first turn. Sometimes the riders are decked out in costume, too — in tutus or superhero costumes — which takes the whole experience to the next level.

Beyond the fun, Ginny and Roger play a vital role in directing riders and making sure they take the right turn for the right route. Without their help, people would get lost more easily, and the Ride wouldn’t be the success it is today. Plus, Ginny says, volunteering for the Ride connects you directly to a cause that spreads hope for cancer patients like her. She encourages everyone to do it.   

“Do it because it is a lot of fun, and they need the help,” she says. “Whatever your limitations are, there’s a spot for you.”

Join Ginny and register as a Ride volunteer today.

Team Tents

We are so excited to be able to gather once again at UB after a long day of riding. There really is nothing better than celebrating crossing that finish line with family and friends in your own team tent!

These are the tent options this year for our team captains at UB:

1. Rent a team tent:

  • 10×10 tent with 1 table and 6 chairs – cost $300
  • 15×15 tent with 2 tables and 10 chairs – cost $340
  • 20×20 tent with 2 tables and 10 chairs – cost $400

2. Bring your own tent (no larger than 15×15) – no cost

Team Tent Rentals

  •  Rented team tents can be accessed for set up and decorating on Friday, June 24 from 1:30-6 p.m., or Saturday, June 25 from 5-9 a.m. 
  • Volunteers will be available during these times to assist you with transporting your items to your tent location. 

Bring Your Own Tents

  • All bring your own tents must be set-up on Friday, June 24 from 1:30-6 p.m., or Saturday, June 25 from 5-9 a.m. 
  • Volunteers will be on hand to assist with delivering your materials to your tent during these days and times only. 
  • Due to Ride for Roswell activities on Friday and Saturday, drop off and pickup of your tent and supplies may be limited. Specific instructions, along with a map of your tent location, will be sent to the email address provided after June 1. All teams will be responsible for set-up, take down, and all supplies within their tent. 
  • Limit of one (1) tent per team. Maximum size: 20’x20’ 
  • THIRD PARTY TENTS NOT ALLOWED. Unfortunately, due to the limited space, third party tent rentals are not allowed. Please contact the Ride for Roswell if you would like to rent a tent. 
  • Stakes are not allowed to be used for tent set up. 
  • All tents MUST comply with NYS Fire Code 24.04 and will have a tag affixed certifying treatment for flame resistance. Non-compliant tents will be removed at the discretion of the UB office of Environment Health and Safety. 

Volunteer Feature: Meet the Militos

Here’s what Lettia and Vinny have to say about volunteering for the load-in/ load-out crew

The sunrise on the morning of Ride Day

For the past 11 years, Lettia Milito has shown up before dawn on the morning of the Ride for Roswell with coffee in hand. She begins final set-up for the event before the sun comes up, while most of Buffalo is still asleep.

“It’s dark, cold and nobody’s there, but I love it at that time. The sunrise is absolutely gorgeous, and there’s just so much promise,” she says.

Lettia oversees a team that loads supplies in and out for Ride Day and the Celebration of Hope. Her duties typically begin the week leading up to the event and end long after the last rider has crossed the finish line. She started volunteering more than a decade ago to fulfill a requirement for her project management certification, but she comes back every year for the people, the atmosphere and the positive energy — not to mention the great cause.

A Family Effort

Lettia’s husband, Vinny, began volunteering with the Ride about six years ago, around the time he retired from his job as the director of global customer services at Oracle. In addition to managing the loading and unloading of supplies, he also oversees the distribution of supplies to each rest stop, matching the number of riders expected to pass through to available supplies. Supply quantities change often, so distribution remains fluid until the trucks are fully loaded the day before the Ride.

“There are challenging moments, but in spite of it all, we make sure everybody has the supplies they need,” Vinny says. “When the last of those trucks leaves, there’s a lot of satisfaction in knowing that the rest stops will be ready to go come Saturday morning when riders start coming in.”

Lettia shares similar sentiments and says she enjoys both managing logistics and setting her crew members up for success. When asked on Zoom why people might want to volunteer, she gave a slight smirk and said, “Well, everybody knows my team has the most fun.”

Lettia was half joking, but most of the volunteers she works with are repeats like her and Vinny who keep coming back year after year. She remembers one particular volunteer, a high school student whose mother made him get involved. His disgruntled attitude soon dissipated into laughter, and by the end of his shift, he was truly enjoying himself. That volunteer came back again the next year — that time, of his own accord. 

On Volunteering

Load-in and load-out roles tend to be extremely active and are perfect for those looking to get their steps in. According to Lettia and Vinny, though, there’s a perfect job for just about everyone.

“There are so many different things that you can do,” Lettia says. “There’s going to be something you’ll enjoy doing.”

“A lot of people feel like they should volunteer for something but don’t know how to get started,” Vinny says. “The Ride is so large now that there’s going to be something you can pick that will give you satisfaction in knowing you did something for a good cause.”

To view all opportunities and register to volunteer, visit our page below.

The Draudt brothers fight back

The Draudt brothers fight back

For brothers Adam and Dan Draudt, participating in the Ride for Roswell comes down to one word: hope. They’ve seen the impact Roswell Park has in the lives of cancer patients and know firsthand how cancer can turn lives upside down. To the Draudt brothers, Roswell Park helps cancer patients fight back, giving them hope for a better tomorrow.

In 2021, Adam was told he had multiple myeloma, a cancer of the plasma cells that causes bones to weaken. Luckily, doctors caught Adam’s cancer early, and he was able to fight back through stem cell treatments and chemotherapy. As of February, he is fully in remission. The diagnosis, however, flipped Adam and his family’s world around.

“It could happen to any of us,” Dan says. “I never would’ve thought it would happen to my brother, but here we are.”

While Adam was undergoing treatment, Dan sought out a way to take action for cancer patients like his brother. He signed up for the Ride for Roswell, wanting to make an impact for future generations. With Adam’s help, they raised more than $34,000 for cancer research! This year, they’re celebrating Adam’s remission by fundraising again.

“The funding that they get from Ride helps people like me go from a [cancer] diagnosis in June to full remission in November,” Adam says. “As a survivor, I see how the funding helps people behind the scenes at Roswell Park make advances they wouldn’t be able to otherwise.”

 

Everyone’s cancer journey differs, but for the Draudt brothers, hope keeps them working toward a world where we end cancer for good. Adam also has a little advice for anyone who might be hesitant to sign up for this year’s Ride:

“Go for it. You’ve got nothing to lose. Even if you don’t finish, you still raised money that’s going to help so many people in the future,” he says.

Check out Adam and Dan’s team, MADaboutcancer, and register for the Ride for Roswell today.

Volunteers needed! Give back to a great cause.

Volunteers are at the heart of the Ride for Roswell and help us make the event a success. We’re looking for more volunteers to join the cause! Whether you have a family member who’s riding or want to lend a hand, these opportunities are a great way to get involved in the fight to end cancer. 

Campus set-up

What? Volunteers are needed to distribute food and beverage supplies and/or help with clean up. This position involves heavy lifting.

Why? Ride Weekend involves countless supplies and moving parts. These volunteers make sure all supplies get to the right place on campus to ensure the event goes off without a hitch.

When? Volunteers are needed on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Shifts are generally 3–4 hours, and you can self-schedule based on your availability.

Where? This opportunity is based at UB North Campus.

CELEBRATION OF HOPE

What? Volunteers are needed to work at the Survivorship Tent, help set up and clean up, or serve food to event participants.

Why? The Celebration of Hope kicks off Ride Weekend, and volunteers keep the event organized, safe and successful.

When? This position is for Friday night. Shifts are generally 4–5 hours, and you can self-schedule based on your availability.

Where? This opportunity is based at UB North Campus.

Route Guides

What? Volunteers will direct riders at turns and intersections, watch out for rider safety and cheer on participants.

Why? You’ll be at the center of The Ride action. This opportunity is great for volunteering with a friend or neighbor.

When? Volunteers report on Saturday. Shifts are generally 3–4 hours, from early morning until early afternoon. You may sign up for more than one shift, if interested.

Where? Volunteers are needed throughout The Ride for Roswell routes!

Campus and Parking Guides

What? Volunteers are needed to help direct the flow of traffic to parking spots and assist riders around campus.

Why? There are 10,000 people on campus at any given time throughout Ride Weekend. Campus and parking guides are responsible for greeting and directing riders and guests, as well as making sure both pedestrian and vehicular traffic runs smoothly.

When? This opportunity is for Friday and Saturday. Shifts are generally 3–4 hours, and you can self-schedule based on your availability.

Where? Volunteers will report to various UB North Campus locations.

Lemongrass Spa Fundraiser for Team Red Birds

I’m hosting a Lemongrass Spa fundraiser to support the Red Birds’ Ride For Roswell. There will be a live Facebook party or shop via this link https://www.ourlemongrassspa.com/12528/shop/catalog.aspx?eventId=E167278&from=DIRECTLINK&fbclid=IwAR2Gx5yV5DUi4EOgbn4H70SqyGZu01P2Im90QTdqxKs6dgS8pMp0o9IULe4

All proceeds benefit the Red Birds!

Thanks for your support!

#RFR20 #GoRedBirds

Contact.

Office address.

Elm and Carlton Streets
Buffalo, NY 14263

Phone number.

716-THE-RIDE
716-843-7433

Proceeds directly benefit: