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Four research studies funded by Empire State Ride top fundraisers

Two riders hug from behind. One is wearing a shirt that says ESR to end cancer.

Fundraising for Empire State Ride Makes a Difference

Amazing things happen when everyday people commit to raising funds for cancer research. Empire State Riders in particular deserve high praise for their fundraising efforts, with each road warrior raising an astonishing $3,500 for cancer research. Hitting that goal takes hard work, perseverance and a commitment to the mission to end cancer — and it makes a real difference on the trajectory of cancer care across the globe.

When riders commit to the cause, many often go beyond the call of duty and reach new heights for cancer research. When a rider raises $10,000 or more, they achieve Excelsior status. Excelsior riders who raise $20,000 or more reach a new level. Their funds are designated to a specific research project, approved by the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC). This project proves to have great potential in improving patient outcomes and saving lives. Ultimately, these top Excelsior riders greenlight the exploration of a new idea that might not have otherwise received funding.

All 2023 Excelsior Riders who raised more than $20K+ for cancer research

Let's take a closer look!

What is the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC)?

Donations made through Empire State Ride are processed by the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, the 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that manages all donations to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. Comprising clinicians, scientists and administrative managers, the Alliance Foundation’s SAC reviews proposals from researchers and approves the ones with the greatest potential.

This process takes place twice a year when a call for grant applications opens and research scientists submit grant proposals. Hundreds of proposals have been received through the years, but only select studies receive approval and funding.

Which SAC grants have Excelsior riders funded?

Most recently, 2023 top Excelsior fundraisers funded a research study by Joseph Barbi, PhD, on ovarian cancer. A novel immunoregulator called neuritin plays a key role in ovarian cancer. By uncovering the way various cells interact, there will be a deeper understanding of how ovarian cancer is able to progress. Dr. Barbi aims to uncover the intricacies of molecular interactions and signaling within ovarian cancer to better inform approaches to novel immunotherapy targets.

Since 2020, Excelsior riders who have raised $20K or more have funded four specific SAC grants.


2023: “Establishing the mechanism and consequences of regulatory T cell-B cell crosstalk in ovarian cancer,” lead by Joseph Barbi, PhD. More details coming soon!

What if I’m not an Excelsior rider?

Becoming a road warrior takes an unwavering and applaudable commitment to the mission to end cancer. Riders who hit their fundraising minimum can take pride in knowing they are bringing breakthrough new cancer treatments to patients who need it most, driving innovations like CAR T-cell therapy and SurVaxM. Last year, Empire State Ride funds helped catalyze Igniting Cancer Breakthroughs, a campaign to develop the future of cancer care through cellular therapy. Plus, for every dollar raised, Roswell Park can leverage an additional $23 from external grants, meaning your impact goes further.

The future of cancer care is being shaped by you and your Empire State Ride donors right now — keep up the great work!

An ESR rider flexes her muscles during the Excelsior award presentation night in Weedsport during ESR.