On July 23, Ed Hutton, associate professor of finance at Niagara University, will join 300 other cyclists in Manhattan to begin the first leg of the Empire State Ride, a seven-day bicycle trip across New York state to raise funds for cutting-edge cancer research at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. By the time he reaches Niagara Falls State Park, he will have ridden 560 miles and, hopefully, helped to raise more than $1.5 million dollars to fight cancer.
He is taking on this grueling adventure in admiration of the strength—physical, mental, and emotional—that cancer patients show when undergoing treatment.
“This is a pretty challenging event,” he says. “Every day, you ride between 80 and 100 miles, no matter how tired you feel or if there’s terrible rainstorms! Having seen what people go through with cancer, I wanted to do something. It’s not the same as going through chemotherapy, but it is a physical and mental challenge, and it makes me think about what someone in cancer treatment has to go through.”
He is also riding in honor of a good friend and fellow cyclist who lost her battle to breast cancer last year.
“This is personal for me,” he says. “I have lost too many friends and family, and seen too many people suffer because of this horrible disease.”
Hutton is no stranger to physical tests. He hikes, runs, skis, cycles, goes whitewater rafting, and climbs mountains. But he acknowledges that this journey will present unique challenges.
“It’s going to be hot, and humid, and hilly,” he said. “We will sleep every night in tents, at county fairgrounds and high schools, and share meals provided by the communities we travel through. There is a shower truck, which, if I get there early enough, may even have hot water left!”
To prepare, Hutton is riding his bike as much as possible, in all kinds of weather. On June 24, he and his wife, Gayle, will participate in the 100-mile Ride for Roswell. Although Gayle will not be accompanying him on the longer journey, Hutton says he is looking forward to getting to know his fellow Empire State Ride road warriors.
“It’s a great way to make friends,” he says. “Exactly 25 years ago, I did a fundraiser like this. I rode next to a girl that I had never met before. We rode just about the same speed and she was very friendly. We got to know each other, and we got married. We’ve been married now for 25 years.”
To support Hutton’s ride and to read about his experiences, click here.