Reid’s Ride Has Become a Force to Be Reckoned with in Defeating Adolescent & Young Adult Cancers
LYNNFIELD, MA. Nearly 400 cyclists set out from Lynnfield High School early Sunday morning, July 17, for a 28-mile bike ride to Gloucester for a Star Wars themed 12th Annual Reid’s Ride Bike-a-thon. Despite very warm temperatures on Saturday and again on Monday, the weather was perfect for the event, with Sunday morning dawning cooler and slightly overcast, with a refreshing breeze that made for comfortable cycling conditions for the entire event.
These cyclists joined another 400 Reid’s Ride supporters, families and volunteers assembled for finish-line festivities at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester, where skies had turned sunny and the cooling on-shore breezes prevailed. All those present were treated to live music performed by talented young-adult vocalists from three different local communities. They sang tunes with lyrics expressly appropriate to anyone facing or sharing a difficult challenge like cancer. Ms. Venere Salzillo, of Saugus, performed “The Climb”, a tune that has become the Reid’s Ride anthem. Marblehead’s Ms. Alea Moscone then performed the Sara Bareilles song, “Brave”. North Reading’s Ms. Brittany Leonard finished up with a performance on guitar and vocals of the tune “Fight Song” by Rachel Platten.
Star Wars Theme
To recognize that Reid’s Ride has become a powerful weapon in fighting Adolescent & Young Adult (AYA) cancer, the theme selected for this year’s Reid’s Ride was “Star Wars”, driven by the belief that Reid’s Ride is indeed “the Force” in defeating AYA cancers. The main attraction at this year’s Stage Fort Park finish line reception was a replica of a Star Wars “X-Wing Star Fighter”, with a wing span of more than 20 feet. The replica was designed by Lynnfield resident Arthur Bourque and built by him and his family and friends in a frantic few days of furious construction just prior to the event. Joining in on the theme were several members of the Sacco family who came dressed as Star Wars characters. Everyone attending the Reid’s Ride reception at Stage Fort Park was invited to pose in front of replica with Princess Leia (Venere Salzillo), Luke Skywalker (Francesco Salzillo), Yoda (Luca Salzillo), and Chewbacca (Alex Sacco) for an instant photo provided by Priestley Fine Photography.
When all proceeds were totaled, the 2016 Reid’s Ride had raised more than $195,000 to fight the cancers striking Adolescent & Young Adults, and to support programs expressly designed to close gaps in the care and treatment AYA cancer patients and survivors. Lorraine Sacco, Director of Reid’s Ride, commented, “That total is a bit shy of the aggressive $200,000 target we set for ourselves, but donations to the event continue to flow in through our website at www.ReidsRide.org. We’ll keep that site open for several more weeks in the hope that enough additional donations will come in to finally reach that goal!”
More than 45 teams participated in this year’s Ride, competing not only on the Reid’s Ride route but also in raising funds for the event. Taking honors for the top fundraising team again this year was “We Can’t Stop”, followed in second place by “Team Rotary (Lynnfield)”, and by “Ride It Like You Stole It” in third, “Danvers Diehards” in fourth, and by “Beverly Rotary” in fifth. Together, these five teams alone raised more than $55,000. Taking honors for places sixth through tenth were “Team Honey Badgers”, “CCCyclers”, “Crazy Wheels”, “North Shore Smiles”, and “Wheels That Heal”.
Taking first place among for the top individual fundraisers was, again this year, Meredith Nash (Andover), followed by Patrice Fogg (Madbury, NH) in second, Jacqueline Rapisardi (Beverly) in third, Liz Joyce (Danvers) in fourth, and Luke Kimball (Lynnfield) in fifth. Together, these five raised more than $29,000. Taking places sixth through tenth were Jane Greeno (LosAngeles, CA), John Mitchell (Lynnfield), Grace Marie Greeno (Concord), Bob Flores (Haverhill), and Rachael Wilson (Haverhill).
This year’s Reid’s Ride also included the second annual “Kids Fun Runs”, organized by Kristen Dorsky and Stacey Pagos. Thirty-four young runners between the ages of 3 and 10, participated in this event. Taking first place in the run for kids 5 to 10 years old was Macy, followed by Owen in second and Tiffany in third. Taking first place in the run for kids 4 and under was Lynnfield resident Daniel Vladasi.
Keeping the Young People in Our Communities Involved
Lorraine Sacco, Event Director for Reid’s Ride, was thrilled with the turnout and the results, remarking that this year’s event perfectly epitomized what Reid’s Ride is all about. “Reid’s Ride is keeping our young adults connected with the world around them, by involving and engaging them in ways that are helping change the world,” Lorraine explained. “Because Reid’s Ride is now closing gaps in the care and treatment of adolescents and young adults diagnosed with cancer,” Lorraine continued, “these young adults are helping their peers who have had to hear those dreaded words, “you have cancer”, by improving the outlook for these patients.”
One of the many things that sets Reid’s Ride apart from other fund-raising events of this size and scale is the high level of involvement from the communities’ youth. That involvement is seen immediately at the starting line at Lynnfield High School, among the hundreds of fund-raising cyclists of all ages assembled and anxious for the launch horn to sound. That involvement is also apparent on the scenic open-road cycling route up to Gloucester. Local adolescents and young adults staff the event’s water stations and rest stops, and all along the route can be seen cheering the riders on. But the involvement of young people is even more evident at the Reid’s Ride finish line, where Reid’s Ride organizers rely on hundreds of young men and women volunteers to energize the festivities at Stage Fort Park in Gloucester. “You see our young people wherever you look at Stage Fort Park at our event each year,” Lorraine stressed. “This year, our cyclists completed the course by pedaling their way down a corridor flanked by rows of young people each holding a Star Wars light saber over their heads and cheering riders the last few yards to the finish line.” The small army of young-adult volunteers played other key roles, too, such as staffing the many food and services tents, playing the Star Wars characters, and providing live vocal musical entertainment for the event.
“And I must proudly report,” Lorraine continued, “that Reid’s Ride is influencing a new generation of young physicians, by sharpening their perspective on AYA Cancers. My son Weston and his wife Lindsay are medical residents now, as are many of their friends. Through their exposure and commitment to the mission of Reid’s Ride, they are becoming the voice of AYA cancer patients on the very front lines of medical care. They are also expanding the reach and awareness of the clinical programs, like the programs at Tufts Medical Center and Connecticut Childrens Medical Center, which Reid’s Ride helped launch and continues to support.”
Cancer Moonshot Initiative
The reach of Reid’s Ride is borderless, working hard to bring capabilities of clinicians, researchers, and philanthropists together, regardless of organization or affiliation, to precipitate the changes needed to better fight AYA cancers. Reid’s Ride is becoming an essential catalyst in bringing the forces of science, medicine and community together in a quest not unlike that of Vice President Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative, which believes that, “solving the complexities of cancer will require the formation of new alliances to defy the bounds of innovation, and accelerate the path to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and – ultimately – to a cure.” The Reid R Sacco AYA Cancer Alliance is an active participant in Cancer Moonshot. “As founders of the AYA Cancer Alliance,” Lorraine added, “my husband and I want to thank all Reid’s Ride participants and volunteers for making it possible for us to have a voice in this important initiative to accelerate the arrival of that day when cancers in AYAs are routinely curable and preventable.”
Year-after-Year Commitment from Volunteers, Cyclists, Family and Friends
Another thing about Reid’s Ride that is immediately apparent is the large number of volunteers and participants who return each year. When asked why that might be, Mr. Peter Lagorio, a volunteer for all twelve Reid’s Rides, responded, “People keep coming back supporting Reid's Ride because they see the dedication of the people at the top who do such a tremendous job organizing everything year-round, not by sitting behind desks delegating orders to others, but by directly working hands-on with all of us as active members of a growing team effort.”
Lorraine and Gene’s son, and Reid’s brother, Dr. Weston Sacco, added that it also has something to do with just how memorable an event Reid’s Ride has become, and with how much detail goes into it. “Even though I've seen it eleven times before, I am always impressed with how this event brings people together and how it creates such indelible memories for people,” he remarked. “For example, I'm sure everyone will remember the Star Wars theme, that Star Fighter and those characters for years to come!” He added, “This practice my mom and dad have of always putting in that little extra is what Walt Disney referred to as ‘plus-ing’. My mom and dad would do Walt Disney proud with what they accomplish with Reid’s Ride each year,” he concluded.
Of course, behind all of this is the original inspiration for Reid’s Ride, Reid Sacco, who lost his life to cancer at age 20 in 2005, after a heroic two-year battle. Lorraine reflected a moment on that inspiration: “It seems that every year someone comes up to me with a story about how Reid touched their lives, usually by helping them feel connected, or by making an impossible goal seem attainable. Those stories don’t surprise me, because that’s just the kind of young man he was. His inspiration is really the driver behind all that we and everyone associated with Reid’s Ride do to make this event fun, rewarding and impactful for so many.”
Thanking Reid’s Ride Riders, Fund-raisers, Volunteers, Sponsors and Supporters
Lorraine thanked all riders, teams and supporters for all their hard work in fund-raising. She also thanked all Reid’s Ride volunteers and subcommittees for skillfully managing the many complex moving parts of an event like Reid’s Ride. She stressed that every logistical or organizational element of Reid’s Ride is designed to assure that the event runs smoothly and safely and that all participants have a great time, but that it takes the hard work and creativity of the Ride’s army of volunteers to make it all happen as intended. She also thanked all of the Reid’s Ride sponsors who had donated essential funds, goods and services to make the event so successful.
Sponsors & Donors
A.A. Dority Company, AmyLou Photography, Andover Law Offices, Austin Sales, Baubles, Inc., Beverly Kiwanis, Bianco & Sons Sausages, Brothers Kouzina, B-Yond Music, Cam Media, Christine’s Café & Confection, Clear Channel, Constitution Seafoods, Countryside Deli, Crown Coffee, Davio’s, Doctors Express Urgent Care of Saugus, Dreamtime Wellness, Dunkin Donuts (Premier Event Sponsor of Reid’s Ride), Eastern Bank Charitable Foundation, Fuddruckers, Jacqueline’s Gourmet Cookies, Jacobson Floral Supply, Inc., JM Electrical, Kayem Foods, Keane Fire & Safety, Kennebunk Beach Improvement Association, King’s at MarketStreet, Lahey Hospital & Medical Center, Landry’s Bicycles, Law Offices of Colonna & Doyle, Liberty Bay Credit Union, LuLu Lemon, Lynnfield Meat and Deli, Lyons Ambulance, Mariposa, MarketStreet Lynnfield, Mix 104.1, Monadnock Spring Water, My Print & Copy, Newbury North Salon & Color Studio, Northern Business Machines, Northrup Associates, Not Your Average Joe’s, Olde Towne Market, Pediatric Health Care Associates, Priestley Fine-Art Photography, Prince Restaurant, Rainbow Balloons, Robert McNeill, CPA, PC, Roman’s Limousine, Rotary Club of Beverly, Rotary Club of Lynnfield, Rotary Club of Peabody, S.Strock & Co. Fruit, Sachetta & Callahan, Salem Five Charitable Corp, Stop & Shop, Sweet Pizza, Tube Ice, Universal Screening Studio, Whole Foods Market, Lynnfield Torigan Family YMCA, and Young & Sons Landscaping.
Food & Refreshments, Stage Fort Park
Bianco & Sons Sausages, Brothers Kouzina, Christine’s Café & Confection, Countryside Deli, Dunkin Donuts, Fuddruckers, Jacqueline’s Gourmet Cookies, Kayem Foods, Lynnfield Meat and Deli, Monadnock Spring Water, Olde Towne Market, S.Strock & Co. Fruit, Stop & Shop, Sweet Pizza, Tube Ice, Whole Foods Market, Lynnfield.
Kids Fun Run Event
Kristen Dorsky and Stacey Pagos and the Lynnfield Moms’ Group, for organizing and running the Kids Fun Run up at Stage Fort Park, helping to keep the youngest participants of Reid’s Ride active and engaged.
Logistics, Transport & Food Preparation
Paula Parziale, for coordinating all the event committees and teams; Ringo Tarr (Gloucester) for coordinating logistics at Stage Fort Park; Kevin Dillon and Arthur Bourque (Lynnfield) for coordinating logistics and equipment transport at Lynnfield High School and at Stage Fort Park; Martha Poti and Frank Rosetti of Coldwell-Banker, for rider transportation; and Bill Gustus, Bob McKendrick and fellow Lynnfield Rotarians for supporting the food committee with their grilling expertise. The food committee was coordinated by Gale Talis.
Media, Promotion & Photography
John Mitchell of Cam Media & Graphics for his expertise and generosity in widely promoting Reid’s Ride in the media; ClearChannel, for designing the 2016 Reid’s Ride billboard banner and posting it on its electronic billboards throughout the region; Bob Priestley, Lauri Priestley and Amy Lou Astolfi for their professional photography of the event.
Safety & Technical Support
Lyons Ambulance; Landry’s Bicycle Technical Support Team; Northeast Amateur Radio Association, Beverly Police Department, Danvers Police and Fire Departments, Lynnfield Police Department; Gloucester Police Department; SAG teams and the volunteer motorcycle route-safety chase team
Volunteer Teams & Committees
AYA Cancer Information Team; Bicycle Transport Team; Cheering Teams all along the route; Danvers “Cornfield Water Stop” Team; Endicott Rest Stop Team; Food & Fruit Transport Team; Ice and Water Transport Team; Pre-registered and Same-Day Registration Team; Raffle Team; Rider Safety & Check-In Team; Reiki Wellness Team; Route-marking Team; Social Media and Web-Design Team; Stage Fort Park Team Leader, Stage Fort Park Decorating Team; Stage Fort Park Food Committee; and the Tally and Accounting Team.
Cities & Towns along the Reid’s Ride Route
The residents and officials of the cities and towns along the Reid’s Ride route, with special gratitude to those of Lynnfield, Middleton, Danvers, Beverly, Manchester and Gloucester for their extraordinary hospitality and support the morning of Reid’s Ride and during the planning of the event.
The good friends of Reid’s Ride at Essex County Community Foundation in Danvers, for their professional guidance and expertise in managing and administering the ECCF/Reid R Sacco AYA Cancer Fund.
Families and Friends
Families and friends are the glue that keeps Reid’s Ride sustainable in its pledge to never stop fighting the AYA cancers that have claimed so many promising young lives. Year after year they return, to assist everywhere and anywhere they can. Thank you ALL!
About Reid’s Ride
Reid’s Ride is held each year on the third Sunday in July. Cyclists begin gathering for check-in around 6:45 AM in the parking lot at Lynnfield High School and begin departing between 7:15 and 7:30 AM on bicycle ride that travels along a scenic and varied route of town and country and seaside roads to Gloucester’s Stage Fort Park for food, music, fun and festivities. The 28 mile open-road route is supported by technical and emergency chase teams, water stations, and a rest stop. For more information, or to register for this year’s event or make a donation, go to www.ReidsRide.org or to the Reid’s Ride page.
For more words and pictures about this year’s event and past Reid’s Rides, go to www.facebook.com/reidsride or www.flickr.com/photos/reidsaccofoundation/collections.
Reid’s Ride is the primary fund-raiser for the ECCF/Reid Sacco AYA Cancer Fund, which provides financial support to clinical and scientific programs targeted at finding improved treatments – and someday a cure – for the cancers that strike adolescents and young adults. Compared to cancer patients in other age groups, this age group is grossly underserved in terms of cancer treatment options, access to clinical trials, and improved survival rates is committed to raising awareness and funds to close critical gaps facing AYA cancer patients and their families. That commitment is focused on three areas: improving care for AYA cancer patients and survivors; improving access for AYA cancer patients to new clinical trials; and educating medical professionals and caregivers about the unique challenges of the cancers predominantly striking adolescents and young adults. It is the vision of Reid’s Ride and the AYA Cancer Alliance to see that day when the many types of cancer striking AYAs are routinely curable or preventable.