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First an Ironman, Now an Empire State Rider

Growing up as an athlete playing soccer, Buffalo native Katie Hamister had nothing but distaste for the sport of cycling. However, when she suffered an ACL injury, she realized the beauty of the sport. Today, she averages 120 miles a week and has already completed a Half Ironman in Florida. She plans to complete three more this year in Raleigh, North Carolina; Muskoka, Canada; and Cozumel, Mexico, to celebrate her 40th birthday.
So when her colleague mentioned the Empire State Ride to her in 2017, she was interested right away.
“I thought, ‘awesome I’m going to do that next year!’” Katie said.
And she is. The Empire State Ride adds another physical feat for her to accomplish and it also aligns with her values.
Even though she currently lives in North Carolina, Katie still feels a deep connection to the Buffalo community. As executive director of the Hamister Family Foundation, she values philanthropy and giving back to the community — making the Empire State Ride a perfect match for her values. By riding across New York State, she can give back by raising money for cancer research and spreading awareness about Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
For her first Empire State Ride, Katie looks forward to meeting new people and hearing their stories. She said she feels honored to be part of a group that will embrace one another and do something together for cancer patients.

Katie’s Fundraising Tip

As a professional photographer, Katie decided to combine her passion with her fundraising efforts. She’s holding a raffle for anyone who donates $20 or more to her ride to win a family portrait session. The winner can even choose between North Carolina, South Florida and Buffalo as the location for the photo shoot! If you are interested, check out Katie’s donation page.

Life Cycle — An account of the 2017 Empire State Ride

Peter Vollmer, a cycling enthusiast, usually cringes when people claim everything happens for a reason. But when the 62-year-old was on his way home after his cousin’s funeral, who lost his battle with throat cancer, he heard a radio commercial about the Empire State Ride that changed his life forever.

The Long Island resident decided to take on the 500+ mile adventure and ride the Empire State Ride in honor of all the people he knew whose lives were cut short by cancer. In particular, he decided to ride for his cousin Michael, his neighbor Jon and Graham, his best friend’s 5-year-old son — all of whom tragically lost the battle against cancer.

In a personal account of his day-to-day experience of the 2017 Empire State Ride, Peter beautifully illustrates what the fundraising cycling adventure is all about. He tells about the ups and downs, the splendor and challenges, the inspiration and the renewed appreciation of life that he experienced during his time on the Empire State Ride.

Among many anecdotes, personal narratives and reports from the ride, Peter begins his story by admitting concerns and initial doubts about his capability to finish the ride. He even made a contingency plan to rent a car and drive all the way down to Niagara Falls if all else failed! Ultimately, his will was stronger and like the old folk wisdom says, faith can move mountains.

His writings are full of the people and faces that made the Empire State Ride special. There’s Carlos, a nap enthusiast whose appearance on the first day had more of an escaped convict than a man on a mission of mercy. And Maria, a religious woman who Peter nicknamed “holy roller.” She would offer a prayer to any rider.

In one of his daily reports, he addresses the common misconception that we believe we have to hurry from Point A to B as quickly as possible. When Peter and his travel companion Jenn discover a national treasure — the Walkway-Over-The-Hudson-Bridge near Poughkeepsie — the two of them are simply transfixed and come to the realization that there is so much more to experience in-between Point A and B. Peter notes that if only we would try to experience the world as the children we once were we could live life a little more and enjoy it in all its fullness.

Peter describes each of the seven days in detail and in such an authentic way so that just by reading his stories, it almost feels like you are riding the Empire State Ride yourself.

Ultimately, Peter concludes that while he grows to understand life less and less, he also learns to live it more and more. The Empire State Ride helped him get a new perspective on life and a renewed appreciation for the precious gift we all share living in this world. For him, it was a rebirth on wheels.

To read Peter’s full account of the 2017 Empire State Ride, click here!
To join Peter on the 2018 Empire State Ride — register today!

Rider Spotlight: Scott Posner

“To win the battle, we need as many soldiers as possible.”

Cycling enthusiast Scott Posner is always up for a challenge. So when he learned about The Empire State Ride, he knew he needed to be a part of it. Not only was he up for the adventure, but the mission to end cancer is very near to his heart. When his wife Debby was diagnosed with cancer, the Posner family was expecting the worst. But because of the advancements in cancer research, she was able to receive excellent treatment and is now living cancer-free.
Scott believes it’s up to us to support cutting-edge cancer research so that future generations can live in a world without cancer.
“If you can make a difference, do it,” Scott said.

For the Empire State Ride, Scott, his brother-in-law and cousin have formed the team Tour de Ted. The name is in honor of Ted Jones, Edward Jone’s Investment second managing partner where Scott works. The team is gearing up and training hard for July 29.
Besides the great cause, Scott is looking forward to the camaraderie of the riders, the unique stories and the beautiful scenery of New York State.
His involvement with the Empire State Ride is also a family affair. Together with his wife and daughters, the family created a video of Scott in a variety of odd cycling outfits, which you can watch here. He is also using the ride as a teachable moment for his daughters. Through his fundraising efforts, he wants to show the importance of taking on a challenge to benefit the greater good.
To learn more about Scott and to support his effort, click here. The Empire State Ride is a one-of-a-kind experience, so if you like adventures, join Scott and the rest of our riders.

Your Fundraising is Fighting Brain Cancer – Here’s How

Brain cancer can be incredibly difficult to treat, which is why finding new therapeutic approaches is critical to saving lives.
New research conducted by Drs. Robert Fenstermaker and Michael Cieselski at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center shows that one of the most commonly occurring molecules in cancer cells may be an attractive target for a broad range of immunotherapy approaches – therapies that target the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
Because of this study, which was funded largely by donations to Roswell Park, the team has discovered that antibodies that target a form of survivin — a protein present in many cancers — have distinct therapeutic potential.
“We’ve dedicated more than a decade to studying survivin as a target for cancer immunotherapy. This work has opened up a variety of new options for using different forms of immunotherapy for hard-to-treat cancers,” says Dr. Fenstermaker.

Learn more about this study in Roswell Park’s recent news release.

Want to learn more about how donations to the Empire State Ride fuel research and patient care at Roswell Park? Check out this blog.

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