BUFFALO, NY-- As a leukemia survivor, art teacher Debbie Sokolski appreciates all that Roswell Park Cancer Institute can do.
After a bone marrow transplant in 2008, her younger brother Dennis was a perfect match, Debbie rode with her older brother Daryle in her first Ride for Roswell just four years later.
Debbie was hooked, and then three years ago, she and her sister-in-law went to the Celebration of Hope at UB's North Campus the evening before the ride.
"It was just an amazing experience, we both had goose bumps," she said.
What Debbie saw was the Peloton, two hundred riders, in tight formation, members of the Ride for Roswell's Extra Mile Club finishing their twelve-mile ride from Roswell Park's campus downtown.
"We looked at each other and said; we have to do this."
But first she had to qualify. Debbie didn't make the team on her first attempt, but that only made her more determined.
"The next two weeks, I came back two or three times a week with another girl, Becky, Rebecka, who didn't qualify either, and we kept riding," said Debbie.
And sure enough, on her second attempt, this mother, coach, and twelve-year cancer survivor made the Peloton.
"I was determined, I raised the money and I knew this is what I wanted to do, so I went out and I practiced, I guess that's the athletic part of me that said; I'm not giving up, that's the part of me that hopefully survived the cancer so, that just kept powering through."
Power, determination, and the will to survive, Debbie Sokolski just one member of this year's Ride for Roswell Peloton.