Why I Ride

You may ride because you’ve been touched by cancer. You may ride because you know someone who has battled cancer. You may ride to support our local organization that supports local families. You may ride because you know exercising creates a healthy lifestyle. You may ride as a team. We all ride for a reason and we hope that you will be willing to share your story to encourage others to join us this September.

To be a part of the Why I Ride campaign please email us the following information:

1. A quote or paragraph of less than 50 words
2. Your contact information including your address and phone number
3. A photo of yourself, if you would like it displayed, in email format.

Thank you for your continued support and we look forward to seeing you in September.

Debbie Barton“Patients face many barriers to getting cancer care such as difficulty with transportation, insurance, and psychosocial issues. In our local community, the financial burden associated with cancer treatment ranks high as a complaint voiced by many of my patients. Some of the reasons for this may be missed days of work due to treatments as well as treatment related expenses.

The Rosemary D. Gruner Memorial Cancer Fund offers an amazing gift that helps our patients afford gas and groceries during the time they are receiving treatment. I am proud to live in a community that so generously helps those going through this difficult journey. My patients tell me how much they appreciate this financial help and how much they feel cared for and cared about.

I look forward to once again attending the grassroots Bike for Cancer Care that keeps donations in our local community to help our neighbors get the quality cancer care they need.”

Debbie Barton, BSN, RN-BC, CMSRN, CBCN, CN-BN,
Breast Health Nurse Navigator

“The annual Bike for Cancer Care has been a special event on my calendar for the past nine years.

I started riding this event when my employer and friend, Bob Lacouette, was diagnosed with cancer and undergoing treatments. Riding in honor of Bob has been a privilege. Sadly, cancer took Bob’s life in 2006. Bob was the founder and owner of New York Communications Co. (NYCOMCO) in Poughkeepsie.

The Bike for Cancer Care gives me an opportunity to combine my joy of riding with raising money to help cancer patients, while honoring a very special person who is greatly missed by everyone at NYCOMCO.”

Matthew Van Aken

“I have been bike riding for about 20 years on and off. Around 2005, I started riding more seriously, and in 2007 a friend asked if I was riding in the Gruner Family ride. Since then, I have participated and raised money every year. In 2008, I was diagnosed with prostate cancer and the need for raising money in the community became very real for me. I am proud to be part of this great community event and I expect to do ‘50’ every year.”

Stephen H. Pittleman

“A big portion of my budget has been getting to and from treatment for my disease. I have to make my various appointments regardless of the financial burden because there is a sense of urgency. Repeat visits do add up and the generosity of the Gruner Fund has made these trips manageable. I am grateful this program exists to help people like me who are struggling to focus on getting better. I appreciate the community support and will pay it forward. Thank you.”

Dara Young, Catskill

“One day, as I was watching television an advertisement appeared on the screen. The message went something like this: “A diagnosis of cancer will change your life for ever.” Truer words were never spoken. On January 5, 2011, I began the eight and half weeks of radiation at the Oncology Department at Benedictine Hospital. I live in Tannersville which is forty-two miles (one way) from the hospital. The support, the compassion and radiation I have received are beyond my expectations. The entire staff turned my fear into hope.

Due to the economic situation we are all facing, gas prices are reaching extremes. Along came my Angel of Mercy. I met a fantastic, caring person named Pat Ernenwein, LCSW. She offered me a five hundred dollar sum from the Rosemary D. Gruner Memorial Cancer Fund to help with the expense of gas. She worked with your Support House and I received my gift cards from Stewarts. This was an unexpected windfall but definitely appreciated. My heart felt thanks go to anyone who had anything to do with your decision to help me.

I now only have a matter of days left to complete the prescribed radiation treatment. I want everyone to know how much your gift meant and I can assure you it was used for gas to and from Benedictine.”

Larry Clinton

“My words can not express how deeply I feel about the ongoing support you have provided me. I may come and go from time to time at the Oncology Support House but you know I will always help in anyway I can. I will always be there for all of you with any events or programs, especially the Bike for Cancer Care. As a Breast Cancer Survivor of three and a half years now, The Gruner Fund and Dan Gruner have helped me tremendously. To have a resource like the Gruner Fund has meant so much to me while I have been fighting cancer. It really does help people in a time of great need. The grocery cards helped me keep my strength up by purchasing healthy foods. The gas cards assisted my family and friends with the cost of driving me to and from my appointments. I am very grateful to have such a place like Benedictine Hospital, the Gruner Fund and the Oncology Support House. You all make such a great team. I thank you!”

Yvonne Ells

“Why I Ride? I’ve had cancer twice since 2002. Each time could have cost my left leg. I can’t run anymore, but I can STILL RIDE. Bike for Cancer Care’s 50-mile ride lets me transform the pain my family, friends, and I have been through into something positive. Bike for Cancer Care helps me heal.”

Peter del Rosario

“Cancer is a demanding disease. It feels like a job in itself. I wasn’t able to work after my operation and needed to find ways to pay for rent, groceries, and all the needs of life through chemo and radiation treatments. The Gruner Fund was a welcome puzzle piece in my finances. It paid for grocery items not covered by food stamps as well as gasoline and allowed me to stretch other resources further. Great thanks to the community.”


“My first disability check arrived two years after I applied. With several major medical conditions going on including cancer, I was very grateful for the Gruner fund. Everyday for 8 weeks, I needed to find the gasoline money to get to radiation treatments. The Gruner Fund filled in the crack.”


“I ride for my two grandmothers and it is not just for fun. It’s fun, but other times I am very serious. I see many people in my family, my grandparents, my aunt, my uncles, my cousins and everybody else. Me and my family raised lots of money to help sick people. I helped my Uncle Paul sell raffle tickets too. The radio station comes and plays good music. I also thought the picnic food was delicious. We all work hard and have a good time too.”

Julia Arsenault

“Rosemary Gruner was my grandma and I loved her very much. My other grandma, Julie Arsenault, died of cancer when I was just one years old. I ride for them, not just for fun. But the day sure is lots of fun.”

Katie Arsenault


A helping hand for cancer patients and their families