Alive! keeps mission of helping cancer survivors going strong through fundraising bike ride

July 17, 2015 11:18 am  • 
  SKANEATELES | Julia Wamp, a 10-year cancer survivor, had a reason for starting Alive! Foundation.

““I realized that it was just as important to provide movement, exercise, and nutrition to survivors and their families, as it was to go through the curative treatments,” she said.

And earlier this month, that mission got a nice boost with the fourth annual Ride for Alive! bicycle ride fundraiser. Wamp reported that the organization raised $50,000 and had 235 bicyclists taking part in the July 11 event.

The ride started at the American Legion on Jordan Road and covered lengths of 10, 25 or 50 miles.

People who access the many services Alive! provides do not pay anything to use them. For example, Robin Bradley, who is a two-year survivor, rode for the first time two years ago right after finishing her last chemo treatment. Robin said, “Today I came here with 16 members of my team made up of both family and friends. Two years ago, when I first rode, I could barely move because of the weakness from all the treatment, but today I am able to join family and friends from as far away as New York City who came to support me.”

Bradley was only 35 when she was diagnosed, and had no history of cancer in her family — much like Wamp, who was 37 when she was diagnosed also with no history of the disease. Robin is using one of the programs Alive! provides to regain strength in her shoulders and arms; her children take part in the yoga classes.

“This event is a real celebration,” Bradley said.

Throug Alive!, survivors and their families or caregivers have access to many services such as massage therapy, wellness programs and yoga. One other program Alive! supports is the music program at Upstate Cancer Center, where professionals perform in the lobby and the infusion rooms. In fact, three members of Symphonia greeted the bike riders at breakfast by providing classical music for them to enjoy.

Wamp said she depends on many volunteers and contributors to help with the event, and this year was no different. Contributions came in from businesses and private donations. Some of the donations were for the silent auction, while other donations were to feed and to entertain the participants. Donations came from Johnny Angel’s, The Sherwood Inn, Vernak, Mandana Inn, Lakehouse Pub, Byrne Dairy, Wegmans, Skaneateles Bakery and Costco, enabling the participants to enjoy everything from breakfast food to pizza and steak. All the water for the various stations along the routes was supplied by Costco.

Alex and Diana Goethe, along with Gracie and David Lee, have been volunteering for the past four years because, as David said, “Julia and Diana are close friends, and we see this as a worthwhile cause. It is a nice way to give back.”

When volunteer coordinator Michelle Mashia spoke, she said, “So many of my friends are cancer survivors so it is natural that I should be involved.”

For additional information about Ride for Alive! and the Alive! Foundation, visit rideforalive.org.