Published in the July 19, 2017 edition
LYNNFIELD — With a day that dawned with clear skies and perfect weather for a bike ride, more than 420 cyclists set out from Lynnfield High School early Sunday for a 28-mile bike ride to Gloucester for the 13th annual Reid’s Ride bike-a-thon.
The ride raises funds for the Reid Sacco Cancer Alliance and serves as a tribute to the life and legacy of Reid Sacco. Reid was a Lynnfield High School graduate who passed away in April 2005 after a courageous two-year fight with sarcoma.
The theme for this year’s Reid’s Ride was “Making Waves for AYAs.” From the turnout of riders, supporters and the record proceeds, this was indeed a tsunami year for Reid’s Ride.
When all proceeds were counted, the 2017 Reid’s Ride raised more than $220,000 to fight the cancers striking adolescents and young adults. More than 420 riders rode in the event. Both of these numbers were record highs.
More than 45 teams participated in this year’s ride. Taking honors for the top fundraising teams were: “Oyster River” raised $17,348; “We Can’t Stop” raised $16,317; “Danvers Diehards” raised $14,055; “Lynnfield Rotary” raised $13,839; “Honey Badgers” raised $8,072; and “North Shore Smiles” raised $6,000. Taking honors for places seventh through 10th were “Crazy Wheels,” “CCCyclers,” “Doctors Sacco” and “Team Funder.”
Oyster River’s captain, Patrice Fogg, took a few minutes at the microphone to explain what brought her and her large team to Reid’s Ride this year. She told the story of Miles Goldberg, a young teenager who lost his life to sarcoma this past May. The team was comprised of many of Miles’ friends and family who are now dedicated to honoring his memory by raising funds for Reid’s Ride to fund those programs that will someday save the lives of AYAs like Miles and Reid.
Taking honors for the top fundraising individuals, many of whom held fundraising events, were: Liz Joyce (Danvers), raising more than $12,000; Patrice Fogg (Madbury, New Hampshire), raising more than $10,000; Meredith Nash (Andover), raising more than $8,500; Liana Boghosian (Lynnfield), raising more than $8,000; and Grace Marie Greeno, raising more than $3,500. Taking places fifth through tenth were Bob Flores, Jane Greeno, Michael Marra, Stacy Dillon and Weston Sacco.
These cyclists joined another 700 Reid’s Ride volunteers and supporters assembled for finish line festivities at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester. Riders were greeted at Stage Fort Park by the cheers of supporters and volunteers, and with a barbeque, refreshments, raffles, prizes, music, presentations, sponsor giveaways and information tents staffed by the adolescent and young adult (AYA) cancer programs made possible by Reid’s Ride.
Along the 28-mile route from Lynnfield High School to the finish line, cyclists were guided by balloons, arrows, water stations, a rest stop, mile marking and motivational signs, and by cheering bystanders.
“Thank you to the Boliver family, Lululemon, and AFC Urgent Care for supporting our riders along the route,” said Lorraine Sacco, Reid’s mom.
This year’s guest speaker was Kathy Warren, M.D., an esteemed pediatric neuro-oncologist now working in Bethesda, Maryland. Dr. Warren grew up in the Boston area and is a dear, longtime friend of the Sacco family. She was the first person Lorraine called when Reid was diagnosed with a soft tissue cancer in 2003.
The essence of her presentation focused on the innovation that Reid’s Ride has brought to the fight against adolescent and young adult cancers.
“Just 15 years ago, there were rumblings among pediatric oncologists like me that AYA cancers were different than pediatric and adult cancers, and there weren’t the kind of therapies that we needed for these patients,” said Dr. Warren. “Also missing was the specialized care this group of patients required, as these patients fit neither the pediatric nor the adult models of cancer treatment and patient care. But then in 2005, along came the Reid R. Sacco AYA Cancer Alliance and Reid’s Ride, the support of which is closing the gaps in the treatment of AYA cancer, step by step, with innovative programs, clinics and medical research for adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer.”
Dr. Warren concluded her presentation by telling a story about a patient named Lily LaRue Anderson, a bubbly six-year-old diagnosed with a rare pediatric brain tumor. Dr. Warren said Anderson used her “yelly voice” to contend with the painful symptoms and grueling treatments. She passed away less than a year after her diagnosis, but her friends and family have started a foundation in her memory. Today, Dr. Warren said Anderson’s family and friends use their yelly voices to raise awareness about rare pediatric cancers.
“Reid’s Ride uses its yelly voice as a force to be reckoned with, one that gives a louder voice to AYAs,” Dr. Warren continued. “This AYA voice of Reid’s Ride is the force that turns its waves of action into a tsunami that will wipe out AYA cancers.”
Programs made possible
On hand at the finish line at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester were tents from the Reid R. Sacco AYA Cancer Program at Connecticut Children’s Hospital in Hartford, Connecticut and the Reid R. Sacco AYA Cancer Program and Clinic at Tufts Medical Center. Representatives from these programs spoke with and answered questions from many visitors to these tents. These programs were launched and are sustained with the help of the more than $2 million raised by Reid’s Ride over the years.
“You should be very proud of the fact that the money raised by Reid’s Ride directly reaches the very patients we are all fighting for because we only support AYA-specific clinical programs,” said Gene Sacco, Reid’s father.
With Reid’s Ride now in its 13th year, the young adults who rode in the early years of the event are now in their late 20s and early 30s, many of them now married with small children. Lorraine took a few moments to recognize a number of the infants of some of the original members of the Reid Sacco AYA Cancer Alliance by handing out special baby-sized Reid’s Ride T-shirts.
“With what is now this third generation of the alliance coming along,” Lorraine said, “I am convinced that the alliance and Reid’s Ride will continue to make waves for AYAs, and to improve the lives of AYAs with cancer.”
Red carpet and Fun Runs
Once again, Bob and Lauri Priestley of Priestley’s Fine Art Photography lent their talents to the event by taking photographs in front of a Green Screen. This “red carpet” opportunity was open to all event riders, teams and attendees.
Using specialized software and printers, they then transformed these into instant photographs of these celebrities posed as if riding a giant tsunami wave. Bob also set up a giant electronic billboard that scrolled the logos and names of the event’s more than 60 sponsors.
This year’s Reid’s Ride also included the third annual “Kids Fun Runs,” organized and run by Andrea Beloff Paciello and Jennifer Daniels of the Lynnfield Moms Group. The runs are for children ages 4 and under, and for ages 10 and under, and keep these young children involved and engaged in the event.