On July 25, almost 300 cyclists from across the US embarked on the Empire State Ride To End Cancer, a seven-day, 540+ mile cycling adventure with one mission: to end cancer for good. This year, COVID-19 is our challenge. And in order to overcome it, we have to shift gears. Our weeklong adventure cannot take place as it normally does and our cyclists cannot complete the journey together. But we will still make a major impact on the future of cancer research. Cancer isn’t stopping. So we can’t either.
This year, the 500+ Mile Challenge was introduced as a way for us to safely ride and “socially distance” while changing the future of cancer research. From July 1 until August 1, Empire State Ride participants will each cycle 500+ miles any way they’d like. Some will log their miles solo while others will ride in small groups.
Riders are remaining connected throughout their journey via Zoom chats, posting their activities on social media using the hashtag #ESR20 and sharing their daily mileage via the cycling app Strava. In fact, we’ve already logged over 40,000 miles since July 1 and expect to easily surpass 52,000 miles or the equivalent of circumnavigating the globe twice.
Among those riders are several NYC area residents who will log their miles around the tri-state area and have their own personal reasons for supporting the cause. A few of these riders include:
“I want to offer hope to all those fighting cancer,” said ESR participant and Staten Island resident Jan Martin. “I want them to know they aren’t alone and that so many people will do anything they can to help! Riding a bicycle is an absolute joy, knowing the positive impact it will have on research findings and ultimately saving precious lives!”
“Being part of something meaningful, substantial and especially because it gives me a sense of purpose in my life other than just doing something for me. To be able to touch lives in a positive way. To believe there is always hope and mostly because it has shown me that my problems are minuscule in comparison to the reality of the people that are fighting against Cancer. I’ve also lost family and friends to this disease. I love to ride in memory of those who lost their fight and those who are still fighting.,” said ESR participant and Forest Hills resident Verny Delao Quesada. “When I push beyond my physical limits and ride to the finish line no matter how difficult the ride is, I feel truly alive and as if I am actually fulfilling my true purpose as a human being. Life is a struggle. But when it’s shared through Love and Brotherhood the struggle becomes a wonderful adventure. After 55 years of living. I finally found my passion beyond being. That is riding my bicycle and supporting the Empire State Ride.”
The funds raised for the Empire State Ride support the most promising, cutting-edge research happening in the world right now, and it’s happening at Roswell Park: immunotherapy. It’s the future of cancer treatment, and Roswell Park researchers are leading the way in developing these new therapies that help our own immune systems fight and kill cancer. They’re our best hope for saving more lives.
The Empire State Ride has grown significantly since it started as a personal challenge completed by event founder Terry Bourgeois in 2014. A dozen riders joined him the following year and in 2017 the ESR attracted 100 riders and raised a half-million dollars for cancer research.
“Cancer affects us all in some way, and the Empire State Ride is an opportunity to make an impact while having an experience of a lifetime,” said Bourgeois. “We ride with the goal to end cancer, but this unique event also offers an amazing personal challenge to riders and the opportunity to create lifelong bonds with other cyclists.”
Those interested can get more information, register and donate to individual riders or the event at EmpireStateRide.com