This past weekend I rode in the Ride for Roswell. A massive fundraising effort that benefits Roswell Park Cancer Institute. The most moving moment (and there are many to choose from) is perhaps the opening ride when the peloton, lined up two by two, hold signs with patients names on them in front of Roswell Park in tribute and support of their struggle and recovery. They then depart and by police escort ride 12 miles to University at Buffalo’s south campus to light the torch and officially open the ride.
This is my first year participating. Having grown up here, in Buffalo, the Ride for Roswell was always part of the background noise of summer. As a child it meant nothing. However as an adult, having lost my grandfather to its insidious reaches it has become something, more.
There’s something to be said about supporting a worthwhile cause. About being part of something larger than yourself and making a difference in someone’s life at the scariest part of theirs.
What I was most struck by was the emotional tenor of the day wasn’t fear or pain or even sympathy. It was gratitude. Hundreds of people not riding or having finished their ride lined the streets, ringing bells, cheering, and thanking those of us still riding. In a time where our social media is overrun by political negativity or hurtful and snide judgemental comments, it was refreshing to experience joy and gratitude and support.
Maybe I’ll raise enough to ride in the peloton next year. Now that would be something to experience. Until then, I’ll keep looking for ways to make a difference. Answering the call that I hear in my heart to continue to serve others.