Why I Ride
For the last four years, 15-year-old Sammi Van Wicklin has been one of the top fundraisers for The Ride For Roswell. She first got involved in 2012 after her friend’s mom was diagnosed with cancer. “I was really sad about it and wanted to do something,” Sammi said. “We had just moved to Ellicottville, and my dad saw something about The Ride For Roswell to raise money for cancer research, and asked if I wanted to ride with him. I love my bike and said yes right away.”
Sammi and her father, Robert, signed up for The Ride that year, but Sammi was nervous about raising the money necessary to participate. She began by asking all her friends and family to donate. “After trying really hard that year, I was able to raise more than $4,000 for cancer research! And more importantly, I learned how cancer was affecting so many of my friends and family, which I didn’t know before,” she said.
The stories of her friends, her family and her donors battling cancer are something Sammi carries with her every year. “There were always people who would give to Roswell Park through my Ride page one year, and then I would hear from them the next year, only to find out that they had been diagnosed with cancer, so I would add them to my list of people I was riding for.” Sammi shares these stories with her donors to encourage them to support her ride. It’s something that has helped her become the top youth fundraiser year after year.
Since she started riding in 2012, Sammi has raised more than $115,000! Along with sharing stories of the heroes battling cancer, Sammi calls, emails and asks everyone she knows to donate to her efforts. She carries The Ride fundraising business cards with her everywhere she goes. She even asked her allergist for a donation.
Sammi has inspired her friends to ride and fundraise as well. She started her own team, Team SBU #CarneyStrong, and had more than 20 of her friends join her team. This year, she’s hoping to grow her team and raise $50,000 for Roswell Park.