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How ESR is fueling the next breakthrough in cancer care

Dr. Joyce Ohm talks about going for $10 million for the 10th anniversary

Empire State Ride is on the cusp of something extraordinary: $10 million in 10 years. 

This year marks the 10th anniversary of Empire State Ride (ESR), and our goal is to reach a collective $10 million. Over the last decade, ESR has already played a significant role in redefining cancer care and paving the way for the next generation of treatments. But we can’t stop until we get everyone across the finish line. 

Learn more about the incredible projects funded through ESR. 

Meet Dr. Joyce Ohm

Dr. Ohm at ESR
Dr. Ohm at ESR.

Joyce Ohm, Ph.D., has participated in five Empire State Ride events, and she sees the fundraising dollars at work every day. She serves as the chair of the Department of Cancer Genetics and Genomics at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

“$10 million in 10 years is going to get us to new discoveries, new experiments, new drugs, new treatments, new cures for our patients that are going to help them move forward,” said Dr. Ohm.

She explained that while researchers have made tremendous progress in developing and implementing new therapies for many of the more common types of cancer, there are still complex, aggressive cases for all cancers and a wide range of rare tumors for which little progress has been made over the last 40 years.

“These include cancer types like pediatric sarcoma and pancreatic cancer,” said Dr. Ohm. “Research is desperately needed in these areas to help us understand what makes these cancers unique, how they evade immune surveillance and how the tumors evolve and become resistant to therapy.”

Advances in those critical areas depend on research — and research is funded through donor dollars.

$1 to $23

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

In 2023, we proudly announced that for every dollar donated to cancer research, Roswell Park is now able to leverage an additional $23 from external grants.

“It’s not a magical match, but instead a lot of hard work, and none of it happens without events like the Empire State Ride,” said Dr. Ohm.

What’s Next

As an ESR road warrior, from the seat of your bike, you’re making a difference in cancer as we know it. Hitting the $10 million milestone in 2024 signifies our commitment to the mission to end cancer, as we ride in solidarity with and for the patients of today and tomorrow.

“While I can’t predict what the next big advance will be, it is likely to be due to advances in our understanding of the genetic and molecular drivers of tumor initiation and evolution. Novel immunotherapy approaches like CAR T-Cell Therapy are expected to play a big role,” said Dr. Ohm. “This is how the Empire State Ride will have an impact on our patients for years and decades to come.”

ESR rider badge saying "Why I Ride"

eBikes at Empire State Ride

Empire State Ride is an endurance event that challenges riders over the course of 500+ miles. Some riders may want to complete that journey on an eBike. The good news is that class 1, pedal assist eBikes are allowed on the Empire State Ride route. To ensure a safe and positive ride experience, however, there are some factors you should consider.

Types of eBikes

Riders at ESR

During Empire State Ride, you will be cycling along a variety of different road types. Bike paths are included in our routes, so our permits only allow for class 1 pedal assist eBikes. All others are NOT permitted.

When selecting an eBike, make sure that it is a durable road bike, made for longer distances and is Underwriters Laboratories approved (UL label). Price is a gauge of quality. eBikes for less than $800 will not last on the ESR. Having a high-quality eBike will keep you safe on the road and prevent a wide range of mechanical issues that could hinder your seven-day adventure.

Prior to hitting the road, get plenty of training on your eBike to ensure you’re comfortable riding it, charging it and changing the battery.

Charging Your eBike

It is up to the rider to monitor their own charging progress.

On the Road  

Empire State Ride is a seven-day adventure. Each day’s route will vary with the shortest ride day being 50-60 miles and the longest day covering 100 miles. One battery/charge will likely not be sufficient to get you through the day. In some cases, riders may need two or three batteries for days with longer mileage. If you bring a second battery, you will need to carry it with you during the ride and have a plan as to when you will change it on the route.

At Rest Stops

eBikes cannot be charged at rest stops along the Empire State Ride route. 

At Camp

Charging stations will be available at camp each night during Empire State Ride. eBikes without removable battery packs are not recommended, as we cannot guarantee that our charging stations at each camp will be near the bike racks.

Riders at sunset on ESR

Glitches Along the Way

SAG and mechanics crews will be available to assist you with a flat tire, should one develop. If your eBike requires specific tools, be sure to bring them with you on your ride, and we’ll assist to the best of our ability. While our mechanics are extremely well-equipped, we may have to lean on the help of bike shops along the route to accommodate the unique needs of each bike. If your eBike requires a rare part, we will do our best to find a loaner bike so you can keep your momentum going.

Still have questions about bringing your eBike? Contact our team at empirestateride@roswellpark.org.

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Roswell Park Alliance Foundation