Brown says Bourgeois asked if the group could raise its sights and increase the number of participants to 200 and the amount of funds raised to $1 million for this year’s ride.
“Everyone wants this event to reach greater goals every year, and we are back this year, giving our full support,” says Brown. “So far, we have surpassed last year’s rider total by 50 percent. We want to keep the number rising.
“We have a challenge to meet — as individuals and as a team. There is a strong sense of camaraderie that develops early on. Everyone encourages everyone else.”
“In every challenge, there are going to be difficulties and blessings that come along with it,” Kaukus notes. “Throughout my cancer treatment I was amazed by the compassion that was provided by caregivers.
“When any one of us who were undergoing chemo completed our entire cycle, there was always a big celebration. Huge. You were so happy for every one of the individuals who completed their cycle and admired their strength and courage. Compassion and mutual support existed between all of us.”
Now, having gone back for a cancer checkup every six months since 2016 and come out each time hearing, ‘Everything looks good,’ Kaukus has developed a sharpened appreciation for life.
“I have a much clearer sense of priority and I am more deeply committed to things and people who are really important to me,” she says. “It eliminates the excess and allows you to see things in a very clear way.”
“Cancer can be a fairly debilitating disease, as far as what medical teams need to do to save your life,” says Brown, who in 1986 was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma, a form of oral cancer. Over the next 18 years, he underwent multiple surgeries, in addition to radiation therapy.
“The final surgery was in February 2004. Following the completion of radiation therapy in April and May of that year, I am fortunate that there has been no recurrence, and very grateful for the care that I received.
“It has helped me realize what’s really important in one’s life, and led me to look at things in a different light.”
Brown says that’s one of the things that led him to the Ride for Roswell, and through that experience, to the Empire State Ride, “and all of the wonderful people that I have met along the way.”
Information on the Empire State Ride to End Cancer, including how to donate to a specific rider, can be found online.
Source : http://www.buffalo.edu/ubnow/stories/2018/07/empire-state-ride.html