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Homestretch! How to get those last-minute donations.

Your fundraising efforts for Empire State Ride fuel critical research that directly impacts the lives of cancer patients at Roswell Park. As we enter the final weeks before our weeklong challenge, now’s the time to rev up donations to reach your goal in time for the big day. Whether you’ve already passed your goal or you’re almost there, we have you covered with fundraising tips to help you go the distance.

Check out these words of advice from your fellow road warriors.


“From a fundraising standpoint, it’s really important for riders to stress that every dollar you raise gets multiplied by 13***. When you can show that financial impact, it is huge. People buy $10 worth of raffle tickets, for example, and it becomes $130 in grant research dollars. When you start putting it like that, it’s really easy for someone to give that $10. If you give me a hundred dollars, now it becomes $1,300 in grant research money. The power of that is amazing.” 

– Road warrior Shelley Unocic.

*** For years, we’ve told you that your $1 donation can turn into $13 in external funding for cancer research. Now, we’re proud to announce that your $1 donation is now creating $23 in funding. This is thanks to your incredible support and the hard work Roswell Park researchers put in every day to advance new discoveries. 
Read more about this change

🚲 Team together.

“Everyone on our team went out and got donations. We purchased some things on our own and put baskets together. One hundred percent of those proceeds are going back to our team goal.”

– Road warrior Shelley Unocic.

🚲 Give people something in return.

“Try to do things that people can actually get something else out of, as well. Instead of just asking them to hand over a donation, ask them to put money toward a dinner or raffle.”

– Road warrior Erica Pompey

🚲 Don’t be afraid to ask.

“My father always said, ‘If you don’t ask, all they can do is say no.’ Right now, what I do for fundraising for team GBY9 is mail out 400 letters. Anybody that I know gets a letter —my doctor, my lawyer, the cleaners, whoever. Anybody I know will receive a letter. And that’s how I do my fundraising.”

– Road warrior Maria Thor

🚲 Remind people what it’s all about.

“I hit and bring to heart what it is really about. It isn’t really about the cycling, which is the fun part, but it’s about how we support the Roswell Park community and help with the fundraising for the clinical trial processes.”

— Road warrior Richard Noll


🚲 Use Your Contacts

“I use a very simple process. What I do is this: Every night at this time of the year, as I’m watching TV, I open my fundraising app and go into my phonebook, and I send personalized text messages with the link. Hey, Steve, it’s Rich. Hope all is well. As you know, this is my fifth year riding for Roswell. I would love your support again. I go through one letter of the alphabet every night. Then I go through my emails. Then I go back, and I start making personal phone calls.”

— Road warrior Richard Noll

However you choose to fundraise, keep the momentum going!

Read more about your impact.

Camping at ESR: What you need to know

Empire State Ride is just around the corner, and riders are in for the journey of a lifetime. Not only are we advancing cancer research from the seat of our bikes, but we’re also taking on a unique cycling challenge. If you’re anything like Maria Thor, you’re going to learn a lot during your week on the road.

“I did my first Empire State Ride, hopped on the bus and off I went. I’d never camped. I was a Holiday Inn girl, but I learned to camp, and I’ve learned a lot of things about myself that I never thought that I would do or could do,” says Maria Thor, veteran rider.

If you’re a first-time road warrior or thinking about becoming one next year, you may be wondering what to expect at camp. After a long day of riding, there’s no better feeling than freshening up and getting settled in for the night. By familiarizing yourself with the schedule and resources, you can make the most out of your camping experience. Here’s a quick snapshot of what you can expect.

🚲Your experience Includes:

• No-hassle tent camping, including tent, chair, air mattress, clean towels and daily delivery of your luggage
• Shower truck, restrooms, , bike truck and mechanics support
• A HUB with rider information, beverages, snacks, first aid supplies, sunscreen, and cue sheets,.
• Wellness support, including first aid and physical therapists as well as optional for-cost massages
• Catered breakfast and dinner with consideration for dietary restrictions
• Charging stations for devices
• Nightly mission-based programming


Daily routes close at 3 p.m. each day. Dinner starts at 5:30 p.m. with nightly programming at 6:15 p.m. that unites everyone around our shared mission to end cancer. Then, you have free time until 10 p.m. when quiet hours begin. You can use that time to enjoy our evening reception, chat with other riders, or just unwind while reflecting on the day.

🚲 Location

Map of ESR with orange colors fading it to show each camp.

Day 1 (July 23): Wagner College, Staten Island
Day 2 (July 24): Somers High School, Somers
Day 3 (July 25): Dutchess County Fairgrounds, Rhinebeck
Day 4 (July 26): Shaker Heritage Society, Albany
Day 5 (July 27): Donovan Middle School, Utica
Day 6 (July 28): Weedsport Speedway, Weedsport
Day 7 (July 29): Ferris Goodrich American Legion, Spencerport

Here’s one last note from veteran rider, Richard Noll.

“At the end of the day, it's not about the ride. It's about the funds raised. And it's about hanging out at camp when you get there. Trust me, the beer tastes really good after a day of riding.”

Two riders embrace in a side to side hug at the finish line of Empire State Ride.

Thinking about tackling this summer adventure in 2023? Follow along on social and join our mailing list!


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Genetic Test Funded By Your Support

Lung Cancer Fighter Finds Hope – With Your Help

Kathy Kait is an active 70-year-old woman. She walks at least three miles every day, rides her bicycle often, and does yoga. She eats healthy, makes smoothies for breakfast, and she doesn’t smoke.
So when she began noticing some minor symptoms — like fatigue and shortness of breath — she didn’t think too much of them.
“I was running up the stairs carrying laundry and noticed that I had to stop and catch my breath,” she said. “I felt otherwise OK, so I thought I might have a cold or pneumonia.”
She paid a visit to her doctor, who did X-rays. But instead of pneumonia, he found numerous tumors in her lungs and lesions on her skull. She was told she had lung cancer — and that the disease had already spread.
Understandably, Kathy was shocked.
“I was feeling pretty healthy overall, and there isn’t a lot of cancer in my family,” she said. “My mom died in her 90s and my dad died in his 80s, so I was thinking I had a lot of time ahead of me and that I was going to be able to enjoy retirement and spending time with my five grandchildren.”
An initial genetic test of Kathy’s tumor came back negative, meaning that new, cutting-edge treatments weren’t an option. As she began radiation and chemotherapy, Kathy tried to keep her spirits up — but as a retired nurse practitioner, she knew that the prognosis for lung cancer was bleak.
After a few rounds of treatments, her doctor suggested they retest her tumor with a new, more sensitive genetic test that had been developed at Roswell Park. The one-of-a-kind tool, called OmniSeq Target™, looks for cancer-causing mutations that can be targeted with personalized drugs that are more effective than traditional therapies like radiation and standard chemotherapy.
Many insurance companies weren’t covering the cost of OmniSeq Target™ yet, though, because the test was relatively new. Thankfully, the money raised by individuals like you provided the necessary funding so that all patients who could benefit from the test, including Kathy, had access to it.
For Kathy — and more than 600 other patients — your participation in the Empire State Ride has made all the difference. OmniSeq Target™ revealed that Kathy’s tumor did have a mutation, and that it could be targeted with a new treatment that would likely do a better job of keeping her cancer at bay: a once-a-day pill that she could take at home.
“When I got the test results, I was absolutely ecstatic,” she said. “My perspective completely changed. I went from having little hope to having new, magnificent hope.”
She’s been on the new treatment for more than a year now, and her most recent scans showed that her tumors are shrinking.
“I’m just so grateful, and I feel great,” she said. “I might not live until I’m 93 like my mother did, but because of this treatment, I’m enjoying the time that I do have. I’m thankful for the riders and the donors who helped make this test possible. There is so much exciting research going on at Roswell Park, and that makes me hopeful.
Scientists at OmniSeq, a Roswell Park partner, have further advanced the OmniSeq Target™ test to identify even more actionable gene mutations for certain types of cancer and save more lives. Thanks to the dollars that covered the cost of the new OmniSeq Comprehensive test, scientists have been able to justify its value to insurance companies, resulting in broader coverage for Roswell Park patients.
You can help the world-class scientists at Roswell Park develop other exciting treatments for patients like Kathy. Sign up to join us on the Empire State Ride or kickstart your fundraising today.

2017 Empire State Rider: Alan Kurtz

From Running to Cycling: Meet 2017 Rider Alan Kurtz

Alan is coming all the way from his hometown in Florida to take part in the Empire State Ride. Learn why he decided to make the trip north — and what he’s most looking forward to about the seven-day adventure.

How did you find out about the Empire State Ride?

I saw a “suggested page” show up on Facebook. I’m not sure why, but I am so glad it did!

What inspired you to sign up?

I finally found a challenging ride that supports cancer research. I lost my father to cancer 33 years ago, and just lost my mother-in-law in April 2016. I am doing this to honor both of their legacies.

What is your history as a cyclist?

I completed eight marathons, including the Boston Marathon, and was training for my ninth when I blew out my hip during a training run. After having arthroscopic surgery in 2002 to correct the torn labrum and cartilage damage, I took up cycling as a form of physical therapy. I could never get back to the level of running I was accustomed to, but I got hooked on cycling.

Have you ever done anything similar to the Empire State Ride?

I am a 13-year veteran of the Bike MS: Breakaway to Key Largo, a two-day, 150-mile ride. I have not done anything to the extent of a seven-day ride of this distance and with these hills! South Florida is too flat!

How are you fundraising for the ride?

I will be sending emails and letters to prior supporters of my MS rides. I will also be supported by my own personal donations and company matching of my donations.

What do you hope to accomplish by raising funds and completing the ride?

First and foremost, I hope to raise much needed funds to help push cancer research further! Secondly, I hope to just be able to complete the ride and at the end, look upwards and say to my dad and mother-in-law, “thank you for pulling me to the finish!”

What are you most looking forward to about the ride?

From what I have read on Facebook and on the Empire State Ride website, the ride is not only about beautiful scenery and a great challenge, but it is about becoming family with my fellow riders who have the same hope and goal in mind — to help put an end to this terrible disease. I am looking forward to meeting new friends and knowing that I have helped make a difference in the lives of those suffering from cancer.