Soul Ryeders, the local group that provides support services for those impacted by cancer, hosted their Get Together to Give Together event at the Westchester Country Club this past Friday. The event acknowledged the generosity of the Soul Ryeders Giving Circle.
Formed in 2015, the Giving Circle is comprised of individuals who recognize the vital need to provide mental and emotional support for those facing cancer. By combining their individual pledged donations Soul Ryeders is better able to budget and plan effectively ensuring a more predictable and sustainable model to offer robust programs, resources and services to clients and caregivers affected by any type of cancer.
The event was the first time this group has come together since 2019. The crowd was captivated by their special guest Ethan Zohn, a philanthropist, Survivor: Africa winner and two-time cancer survivor as he shared his incredible story in an inspiring speech during the program and his personal conversations throughout the event. His words resonated with the gathering as he shared, ‘Cancer patients and survivors are desperate. We are literally waiting every second of every minute of every day for some lifesaving breakthrough or relief from the psychological burden that cancer drops on you. I wish I knew about Soul Ryeders. I wish I had your Peer Support Initiative when I was sick. This program will help mentor cancer patients / survivors through their emotional and mental health challenges to help improve coping responses for – anxiety, depression, stress, isolation’ and as he concluded his remarks, he reminded us all, ‘The key here is to do more than just show up today. It’s to leave here motivated. Motivated to make a difference in yourself by making a difference in others.’
Brian Smith, Soul Ryeders Board Member, Giving Circle Member and cancer survivor, shared his cancer experience highlighting how Ethan’s story guided him throughout his journey. “Whenever I was worried that my cancer wouldn’t go into remission or I would relapse, Ethan’s story was a beacon of hope and inspiration I could keep coming back to of someone who kept fighting and eventually beat lymphoma, even if the first few treatment plans were unsuccessful. One of my goals through Soul Ryeders is to do for our clients what Ethan did for me and give hope to those going through treatment or dealing with the mental challenges of being in remission but afraid of relapse.”