Reid’s Ride is transforming the impossible into the possible for adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer
Overcast but bright skies softened the mid-July sun, making for cool temperatures and a perfect day for a challenging but scenic bike ride. Nearly 400 cyclists set out from Lynnfield High School (LHS) early Sunday morning, July 15, for the 2018 Annual Reid’s Ride 28-mile bike ride. The theme for this year’s event was based on the popular sci-fi television series “Star Trek” and its many relevant catchphrases, such as Captain Jean-Luc Picard’s proclamation “that things are only impossible until they’re not.” Now in its 14th year, Reid’s Ride is indeed making possible what others considered impossible in improving the care, treatment and outlook for adolescents and young adults (AYAs) diagnosed with cancer.
Cyclists were guided along the 28-mile open-road route by balloons, arrows, water stations, a rest stop, mile markers and posters. Cyclists were then cheered across the finish line at Gloucester’s seaside Stage Fort Park by more than 800 Reid’s Ride volunteers, supporters, family members and friends. All were treated to a barbeque, refreshments, raffles, prizes, music, presentations, relaxation tents and sponsor giveaways. Information tents from the Reid R. Sacco AYA Cancer Program at Tufts Medical Center and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center fielded questions about AYA cancer and illuminated the vital role that Reid’s Ride has played in launching two of the earliest and most innovative AYA Cancer Programs in the country.
The Reid’s Ride Founder and Director, Lorraine Sacco, illustrated the importance of everyone’s devotion to fighting AYA cancer by reading an especially relevant and moving Facebook post from one of the day’s riders, April Bailey. This was April’s second time riding in Reid’s Ride in memory of Heather Bent, a young adult who lost her life to cancer at age 22. A physician assistant, April was a member of the medical team that diagnosed Heather’s cancer. April continued to visit Heather and recalled the moment when Heather told her, “Even if all the drugs and treatments they are giving me don’t work to save me, I hope it’s helping them figure out what will work for someone else, and that it’s one step closer to finding a cure.”
April herself went on to write, “I am honored to ride in memory of Heather and her selfless spirit and beautiful soul, as well as being a part of the efforts to raise money for continued clinical research, clinical trials, and specialized treatment programs to work toward a cure for this awful disease.”
Lorraine concluded, “Never forget why we are gathered here today, or why we ride. We ride for Heather and so many other young adults we’ve lost to cancer. We ride so that we may make possible a cancer-free future for the next generations of AYAs. This is why we ride!”
Ann-Margaret Ferrante, State Representative for the Cape Ann District, presented a salutation to the 14th Annual Reid’s Ride from Governor Charlie Baker. The citation reads, “On behalf of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I am pleased to confer upon the riders, volunteers, donors and sponsors of Reid’s Ride this Governor’s Citation in recognition of your steadfast devotion to fighting Adolescent & Young Adult Cancer.”
Jeffrey Roy, State Representative for the 10th Norfolk District and Vice-Chair of the Joint Committee on Health Care Financing, presented another citation to Reid’s Ride, this one from the Massachusetts House of Representatives: “In recognition of Your 14th Annual Reid’s Ride and for your Dedication and Devotion to Fighting Adolescent and Young Adult Cancer.”
Rep. Ferrante has been an instrumental supporter of Reid’s Ride since its inception in 2005. Rep. Roy endearingly shared the story of how Lorraine captured him after a presentation he made at a recent meeting of the American Cancer Society, and how her story inspired him to ride this year in his first Reid’s Ride.
The 2018 Reid’s Ride raised more than $215,000 to fight the cancers striking Adolescents & Young Adults. This total is expected to swell as additional donations to teams and individuals, as well as company matches, continue to come in during the next several weeks. The Reid’s Ride website will remain open until October so that supporters can make post-event tax-exempt donations to their favorite teams, favorite riders or to the event itself.
More than 400 riders and 45 teams participated in this year’s Ride. Taking honors for the top fundraising teams were the following: “We Can’t Stop” ($15,111); “Danvers Diehards” ($14,950); “Rotary (Lynnfield) Riders” ($10,834); “Team Honeybadgers” ($9,155); “Firefighters Fighting Cancer” ($8,192); “Beverly Rockin Rotarians” ($7,735); and “North Shore Smiles” ($7,356).
Taking honors for the top fundraising individuals, many of whom held fundraising events, were Paula Parziale ($8,528); Meredith Nash ($8,470); Liz Joyce ($7,960); Patrice Fogg ($4,885); Jacqueline Rapisardi ($4,596); Jane Greeno ($3,271); Kevin Connolly ($3,133); Stacy Abbatessa ($2,820); Frank Sacco ($2,480); and Mike Marra ($2,289).
Reid’s Ride sponsors
The 2018 Reid’s Ride sponsors donated essential funds, goods and services to make the event so successful.
The premier sponsor of this year’s Reid’s Ride was, once again, Dunkin’ Donuts. Jen Bonugli, on behalf of those Dunkin’ Donuts franchisees who donated, presented the Ride with a check for $25,000. Dunkin’ also provided its mobile restaurant that served riders, supporters and volunteers with complimentary cold and hot beverages. In keeping with this year’s Reid’s Ride “Star Trek” theme, Dunkin’ was an “Admiral’s Partnership” sponsor.
The “Lieutenant Admiral” sponsor was the Rotary Club of Lynnfield. “Captain” sponsors were as follows: CamMedia, Clear Channel, Cataldo Ambulance Services, Davio’s, Everett Co-operative Bank, Fuddruckers, North Shore Smiles and Tufts Cancer Center. “Lieutenant” sponsors included Lyon-Waugh Group, Dreamtime Wellness, JM Electrical, Lahey Health Shared Services, Landry’s Bicycles, People’s Bank and The Priestley’s Fine Art Photography. “Cadet” sponsors included 3M Boston Party Bus, Amylou Photography, B-Yond Music, Mariposa, Rainbow Balloons, Roman Limousine, Stop & Shop, Universal Screening & Printing and the YMCA of the North Shore. Supporting sponsors included Baubles Jewelry, Bianco & Sons, Boston Hides and Furs, Brothers Kouzina, Cerra’s Market, Christine’s Café, Countryside Deli, Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, Jacobson Floral Supply, Kayem Foods, Keane Fire & Safety Equipment, Kellco Management, Kennebunk Beach Improvement Association, Legal Sea Foods, Liberty Bay Credit Union, Northern Business Machines, Prince Pizzeria, Robert McNeill, CPA, PC, Rotary Club of Beverly, Rotary Club of Peabody, S. Strock & Company, Sachetta & Callahan, LLC, Seaside Graphics, Tube Ice Co., Wakefield Co-operative Bank and Wolf Hill Nursery.
Reid’s Ride riders, fundraisers, volunteers, sponsors and supporters
More than 150 volunteers, which were organized into 20 different subcommittees, skillfully managed the many complexities of an event as large and inclusive as Reid’s Ride. Reid’s Ride is an all-volunteer event, driven by an all-volunteer organization, the Reid Sacco AYA Cancer Alliance. Every logistical or organizational element of Reid’s Ride is designed to assure that the event runs smoothly and safely and that all participants have a healthful, rewarding and fun-filled experience. Each year this army of volunteers steps up to take charge and ownership of their respective areas. Each volunteer personally attends to all the little details that make the event run so smoothly and safely.
Reid’s Ride is immensely grateful to the following sub-committee and activity leads:
Paula Parziale for coordinating all the event committees and teams; Ringo Tarr for coordinating permitting, approvals and logistics at Stage Fort Park; Kevin Dillon for coordinating Stage Fort Park set-up and layout; Arthur Bourque for LHS set-up, for being the voice that kept registration and launch on its tight timeline, and for then heading up to Stage Fort Part to assist the Priestley family with the green screen construction and set-up.
Rider check-in and same-day registration
Meghan Darragh and Hillary Ewing for leading the team of volunteers who executed the rider check-in and registration processes at the starting line at LHS; Ted Cohen and Kevin Kiley for providing the registration tables and for assuring that riders received their event tee-shirts.
Registration and fundraising accounting
Katie Bourque Bush and Joan Bourque, assisted by Linda Nolan, for providing real-time tabulation of registration fees and donations needed to calculate the top fundraising individuals and teams in time for the recognition ceremony at the finish line.
Ice and water
Paul D’Agostino, Peter Lagorio and Bob Sherr for delivering ice and water to the starting line, water stops, rest stop and finish line.
Safety & technical support
Mike Marra for leading the rider Safety & Support team, which was composed of Cataldo Ambulance, Landry’s Bicycle Technical Support Team, the Northeast Amateur Radio Association, the Beverly Police Department, the Danvers Police and Fire Departments, the Lynnfield Police Department and the Gloucester Police Department; SAG teams and the volunteer EMT motorcycle route-safety chase team.
Nancy McNeil and Suzanne Waitkus for coordinating the team charged with clearly marking the entire route with helium-filled balloons, starting at 5:30 a.m. the day of the ride.
The Boliver family for manning the water station situated at the cornfields on Dayton Street in Danvers; Donna Marra for coordinating the Endicott Rest/Water/Refreshment Stop.
The Danvers Fire Department and lululemon for providing cheering support along the route; the cheering squad at the Stage Fort Park for making those last few yards to the finish line the most memorable ones for every rider.
Stage Fort Park decorating
Michelle Moscone and Susan Mirabello, assisted by Jennifer Welter, for leading more than a dozen volunteers in decorating the Stage Fort Park grounds and gazebo with ribbons, bows and balloons.
Finish line rider check-in
Katie Kelter and family for leading the team responsible for making sure all riders participating in the event were accounted for as they crossed the finish line at Stage Fort Park.
Rider and bicycle transportation
Frank Rosetti for coordinating the transportation of riders back to LHS; Jackie and Larry Tewksbury for coordinating bike transportation back to LHS.
Food, drink & snack tents & stands
Carolyn Simard for leading the food committee charged with presenting and serving hot and cold foods, and for assuring compliance with food safety regulations; Lynnfield Rotary for supporting the food committee with its grilling expertise; Everett Bank for staffing the Richie’s Slush cart; Stop & Shop stores of Danvers, North Andover, Reading and Peabody for providing healthy snacks and refreshments for everyone.
Health and wellness tents
Karen Pischke for leading the on-site reiki, wellness and massage tents, and staff from Dreamtime Wellness and Sports Massage & Body Works; Lahey Hospital and Medical Center for its healthcare information tent as a North Shore community support group.
Celebrity instant photography tent
Bob and Lauri Priestley and their daughters for donating time, equipment, creativity and expertise in providing individuals and teams the opportunity to be photographed against a “Star Trek” theme–based background. Bob Priestley also provided an electronic stage monitor showing a presentation of sponsor logos, and a rotating list of more than 60 loved ones to whom riders dedicated their participation in Reid’s Ride.
Kids’ activity tent
Tracy O’Neil for leading a staff of young adults, including Meg Cleary, Leah Sacco, Alessia Salzillo and Marissa Stockwell, who offered face painting, games, bubbles, hula hoops and the Kids’ Fun Run to the younger guests attending the festivities at Stage Fort Park.
Media and promotion
John Mitchell of Cam Media & Graphics for his expertise and generosity in widely promoting Reid’s Ride in the media; ClearChannel for designing the 2018 Reid’s Ride billboard banner and posting it on its electronic billboards throughout the region.
Amy Lou Astolfi for photographing every rider crossing the finish line; Lauri Priestley for photography at LHS launch and Stage Fort Park festivities.
Presentation and recognition ceremony at Stage Fort Park
Dan Elias, DJ of B-Yond Music, for keeping the assembled guests entertained and apprised of all Stage Fort Park activities and making all guests aware of all sponsors and schedules and festivities of the day. Karen Strating for keeping track of all Stage Fort Park area timelines, including the presentation timeline and winner’s circle photography. Venere Salzillo for her beautiful rendition of the event’s anthem, “The Climb.” Katie Bourque Bush for tabulating and determining winners and for coordinating presentation of awards. Kelly Dillon for announcing raffle winners.
Jonna Casey and Marie Coppola, Doris and Wayne Boghosian, Joyce Calogero and Reid Lavoie and Martha and Stu Flom for removing all posters, balloons and signs from the ride route immediately after the event.
Stage Fort Park clean-up
Jennifer Welter, Kevin Dillon, State Senator Bruce Tarr, Rob Sacco and many volunteers and guests who worked so hard to leave Stage Fort Park in as perfect a condition as it was before the event.
About Reid’s Ride
Reid’s Ride is held each year on the third Sunday in July. Cyclists begin gathering for check-in around 6:45 a.m. in the parking lot at LHS and begin departing between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m. on a bicycle ride that travels along a scenic and varied route of town and country and seaside roads to Gloucester’s Stage Fort Park for food, music, fun and festivities. The 28-mile open-road route is supported by technical and emergency chase teams, water stations and a rest stop. For more information, or to register for this year’s event or make a donation, go to www.ReidsRide.org or to the Reid’s Ride page at www.cancerinyoungadults.org. For more words and pictures about this year’s event and past Reid’s Rides, go to www.facebook.com/reidsride or www.flickr.com/photos/reidsaccofoundation/collections.
Reid’s Ride is the primary fundraiser for the Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF)/Reid Sacco AYA Cancer Fund, which provides financial support to clinical and scientific programs targeted at finding improved treatments – and someday a cure – for the cancers that strike adolescents and young adults. Compared to cancer patients in other age groups, this age group is grossly underserved in terms of cancer treatment options, access to clinical trials, and improved survival rates. The organization is committed to raising awareness and funds to close critical gaps facing AYA cancer patients and their families. That commitment is focused on three areas: improving care for AYA cancer patients and survivors, improving access for AYA cancer patients to new clinical trials and educating medical professionals and caregivers about the unique challenges of the cancers predominantly striking adolescents and young adults. It is the vision of Reid’s Ride and the AYA Cancer Alliance to see that day when the many types of cancer striking AYAs are routinely curable or preventable.