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Skaneateles couple starts new charity bike ride to benefit cancer survivors

“Ride for Alive!” will take participants up to 100 miles around three lakes

— A new charity to support cancer survivors has recently been started in Skaneateles, with its first major fundraising event — a 100-mile bike ride around Skaneateles, Otisco and Owasco lakes — announced for July.

The “Ride for Alive!” annual fundraiser, announced by the Alive! Foundation last week, is a non-competitive ride for cyclists who can choose 10, 25, 50 or 100 mile distances around the Finger Lakes region. The money raised by sponsors will benefit programs for cancer survivors in local communities.

“Our goal to make this a memorable, incredible, inspirational and fun event for people to be a part of, and one they will want to come back and participate in for years to come,” said Julia Wamp, Alive! Foundation co-founder and cancer survivor.

Julia Wamp and her husband Michael, who live in Skaneateles, started the Alive! Foundation in January to educate and empower cancer survivors to live healthier, happier lives, according to the foundation’s mission statement. The organization plans to develop and fund programs in local communities to help cancer survivors to live well by focusing on movement, exercise and nutrition while promoting cancer survivorship nationwide.

“There are 12 million cancer survivors in the United States now. The fact that there are people surviving is wonderful, but also these people have a need as well, that need being, How do you go back to your life, get back some of the strength you have lost?” said Julia Wamp.

Wamp, a mother of three young children, knows what she is talking about. In 2005, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and went through nine months of surgeries and treatment. When the treatments were over, she asked herself what was next. How does a cancer survivor return to a normal life?

Wamp said the “spark” that started her interest in creating the Ride for Alive! was watching the SkanRaces participants run past her house during the Labor Day weekend events. Wamp, who was a competitive runner before her cancer diagnosis, said that about five years ago, as she watched the Skinnyman racers, she decided, “I have to do that.” During her training she found she enjoyed the bike riding part of the event the most.

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