More than 7,000 cyclists are set to break a fundraising record during the 15th annual Ride for Roswell this morning. (James P. McCoy / Buffalo News)
AMHERST -- Kathy Huber lost her husband to kidney cancer three years ago.
Today, three of her children and their spouses are making a winding trek on bicycles in the Ride for Roswell to honor the memory of Robert C. Huber.
"He was a fantastic husband, a wonderful father, a great grandfather," Kathy Huber said as she arrived at the University at Buffalo's North Campus to cheer on her children this morning. "He forged the battle. He was only 61 when he died, and we all miss him. His spirit is with us today."
Huber's children are among more than 7,000 cyclists participating in the 15th annual fundraiser for cancer research and patient programs at Roswell Park Cancer Institute this morning.
Organizers hope to break last year's $2.3 million fundraising record today. As of Friday, the event had raised $2.2 million, and officials expected the tally to climb higher today and tomorrow.
Many of the cyclists ride in memory of a loved one or in support of someone with cancer.
"I think there are as many stories as there are participants," said Dr. Donald Trump, Roswell president and CEO. "Each story tugs at your heart strings.
The event, Trump said, continues to draw more riders each year -- a testament, he said, to the passion and courage the Ride for Roswell evokes.
"Even in hard economic times, people are still coming out for the ride," said Dr. Candace Johnson, Roswell deputy director.
Johnson and Trump participated in the Ride for Roswell's Peloton ride in which about 175 cyclists snaked through Buffalo from the Roswell campus to the event site at the University at Buffalo North Campus in two-by-two formation.
Huber, whose granddaughter carried a sign stating, "We miss you," said the ride for many families is about honoring those who are gone.
"I think the main thing is to keep his memory alive and to keep the courage to fight cancer," said Kathy Huber said.
4:03 p.m.: Organizers say this year's ride raised about $2.6 million, the highest yet.