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Ride for Roswell raises $4.5 million for cancer research

A community of bicyclists came together Saturday during the 21st annual Ride for Roswell Saturday morning, pedaling for a common cause of beating cancer.

“Everyone here’s in the same boat,” said Susan Patanella of Alden, whose sister, father and husband died of cancer. “Sometimes you feel alone with this, like, ‘Why me? I can’t believe this has happened.’ This redirects that.”

A spokesman said the riders raised a total of $4.5 million for cancer research.

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Gallery: Photo gallery of Ride for Roswell

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Thousands of bicyclists flooded Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the University at Buffalo’s North Campus — the two sites of the biking routes. Most people entered as teams, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the names of their group. And after the routes were completed, there were food tents, beer stations and even a throng of walking, talking cartoon character mascots for kids.

The weekend event kicked off Friday evening with games and activities at the University at Buffalo, followed by a tribute to “those for whom we ride.”

The first ride Saturday started at 6:15, the last at 11.

The proceeds will go toward Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s cancer research efforts.

Cherie Noah of Orchard Park, rode with a team of 12 dubbed “Novarian” for ovarian cancer. Her mother-in-law died from the illness in September 2015.

“I’m sick of everybody dying of cancer,” she said. “As much as I love Roswell, I don’t want there to have to be a place like this.”