GOLD RIBBON RIDERS
Written by Jamie Weiss
Photography by Veronica Yankowski
Last year, my 10-month-old daughter, Sawyer Rose, was admitted to Memorial Sloan Kettering to be treated for Neuroblastoma. She had a tumor in her adrenal gland and cancer had spread through 85% of her body. In spite of our heavy hearts, my husband and I went from sheltering our 3 daughters from life’s harsh realities to teaching our girls to meet them.
Two words carried our family through this unimaginable battle – treatable, curable. Sawyer had 8 rounds of chemotherapy, 11 blood transfusions, a 9-hour surgery, and a stem cell collection. It’s hard to explain what we emotionally endured. We suffered but we grew. Then, we got the call letting us know that Sawyer’s scans were clear- no evidence of disease. When I told my seven-year-old daughter Dylan about the wonderful news, her first response was: That’s terrific mom. We’re still going to help other children, right? There it was, the first glimpse of a silver lining. When I heard Dylan’s empathetic words, I understood that I wanted to do something for all children who are living chemo-to-chemo, waiting for a medical breakthrough.
We formed Gold Ribbon Riders. Friends and family signed up to support the underfunded cause and to honor Sawyer’s heroism. We joined Cycle for Survival to ensure ALL donations went directly to childhood cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering. What started as the unimaginable blossomed into something bigger and brighter than I ever could have imagined.
Adults and children are showing up — donating money, energy and talents. Fueled by high hopes and gratitude for the opportunity to be part of the solution, we raised $413,675– enough to fund a whole genome sequencing trial. My friend’s seven-year-old son, Max, has already promised: when the adults are too old and too tired to run this organization, the kids will take over. Cancer, this means war!
To learn more, volunteer or donate please go to: http://www.goldribbonriders