‘Ride for Life’ continues to aid cancer fight


Photos by Shawn Nowlin

Three female bike riders about to hit the road.
J.C. Taylor (middle) addressing the riders while Patrick McKee (right) and Tony Pitzer (left) look on.


It’s the kind of generosity that makes movies and novels so heartwarming. People of all backgrounds coming together for a common cause. Ride for Life, a motorcycle ride to benefit the goal of eliminating cancer, started at 9:30 a.m. this year in the parking lot of Dunkin Donuts in Salem on Saturday, July 1.

Patrick McKee, co-chair of Roanoke Valley Event Planning Committee for Relay for Life, was “extremely” satisfied with this year’s outcome. “It was wonderful seeing so many people come out and going for a ride on a beautiful day to help support Relay for Life,” said the WSLS news anchor. Before riders can participate in the fundraiser, they must make a $20-dollar donation and sign a safety waiver.

“The Moving Toward a Cure Relay for Life Team has been putting on the Ride for Life for about 11 years and I have been a part of each one,” Moving Toward A Cure Team Captain Martina Fudge said. “This year, I helped raise funds by advocating for donations to many fundraising events as well as joining the Roanoke Valley Relay for Life Event Planning Committee.”

Salem native Kimberly Winn wears a bracelet that reads, “No One Fights Alone” each year. “I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t been affected by cancer, whether it be themselves or a loved one,” Kimberly said. “We need to continue to raise money to have a fighting chance because cancer transcends race, ethnicity and gender.”

“The Roanoke Relay was formed by people to raise money and each team comes up with their own ideas,” J.C. Taylor, Ride for Life A Moving Toward A Cure team member, said. “Our team is made up of friends from all walks of life but we are not affiliates with any business or church. We make our own rules. We’ve also been fortunate to raise a good amount of money.”

When Anthony Walker created a Facebook post encouraging people to support this year’s Ride for Life event, he thought he’d just get a few dozen responses. He said over 100 people responded in less than three days. “It’s extremely important for people to support events like this and I want to do everything I can to make that happen,” he said.

Those who want to make a contribution to Ride for Life can do so by contacting their local American Cancer Society or visitinghttps://www.cancer.org.

In ten years, Ride for Life has gone from an idea amongst friends to an event annually raises thousands of dollars to fight cancer. “I would like to thank Dunkin Donuts for their good spirit. It showed that they appreciated us coming to their place for the event and that means a lot,” J.C. Taylor said. “Some places we’ve dealt with in the past made us feel unwelcomed. Dunkin was an awesome sponsor this year.”