BellRinger shares bright future for ride to end cancer

From our friends at BellRinger

I remember standing at the BellRinger starting line on a brisk Saturday morning last October watching 851 Riders file into the chute, eager to begin their 25-, 50-, and 100-mile rides. This group of Riders represented the vanguard of a new community that will transform our capacity to fund cancer research right here in Washington, D.C. Each Rider, many uniformly clad in navy and green BellRinger jerseys, brought with them their own story to BellRinger Weekend. Some are cancer survivors themselves, others are riding for a loved one they lost, many are researchers who have dedicated their lives to beating cancer, and some are motivated to do their part to create a world where a cancer diagnosis is no longer a life-altering event. At 7:30 AM, the lead car and motorcycles crept forward off of the start line and BellRinger’s inaugural Ride was on the road.

I was the last Rider out of the chute on Ride Day. I sped down the entrance to Georgetown University and out onto Canal Road to see hundreds of Riders arrayed across the road ahead of me, making their way along the Potomac River and onward into Maryland. The cyclist in me loved the eight miles of closed roads headed out of town on Clara Barton Parkway. I arrived at the first rest stop in Potomac to a wave of helpful volunteers passing out snacks and refilling water bottles. The waffles were a big hit! 

I kept riding from rest stop to rest stop on my 100-mile long journey from D.C. to Urbana, Maryland. The best part about this ride is that the scenery crescendos as the miles increase. It’s easy to forget in the daily hustle and bustle of life in D.C. that beautiful rural backroads are only 15 miles away. Spending the day hearing the stories of the BellRinger community, climbing through the hills of Frederick County with fellow Riders, and being greeted by the smiling faces of volunteers at each and every turn was an experience I will never forget. 

As I rolled across the finish line in Urbana, my body was exhausted from the 100-mile Ride, but I dismounted my bike energized because this was only the beginning of something incredibly special. The BellRinger community had come together to ride, volunteer, fundraise, and support each other in ways we could only have hoped for. 

My mother is a breast cancer survivor. She was diagnosed when I was in fourth grade, and I watched her undergo an intensive course of treatment that included surgery, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, and a full course of radiation therapy on her way to making a full recovery and ringing the bell. Her experience changed my outlook on the world.

I bought my first road bike when I was 14 years old while growing up in Columbus, Ohio looking for a new hobby. I never imagined that it could be the means by which I could pay it forward and raise money to support cancer research similar to the research that saved my mom’s life. That’s what BellRinger is all about. Join me, fellow cyclists, and people who hate cancer who can ride a bike this October for what will be an even bigger and better version of Bellringer as we continue our journey to end cancer with Georgetown Lombardi.