Cruising in pink: Brooklyn bikers and doctors ride for breast cancer

Dozens of motorcyclists rode through Brooklyn on October 17 to raise awareness about the Maimonides Breast Cancer Center and mammograms, one day after the AVON 39 walk in the five boroughs.

“More than for any group, bikers ride for a cause,” said Sean McDonald, a Marine Park resident and member of Bikers of Brooklyn. “It’s good to crush stereotypes.”

Over 100 motorcyclists were on hand for the ride, Ride2Live, outside the Maimonides Breast Cancer Center in Boro Park. Bikers of Brooklyn partnered with the center to host the ride, which departed from the center’s driveway via police escort, traversing through Sunset Park and Ocean Parkway.

The riders—many of whom were clad in black leather jackets and pink bandanas for the cause—were riders from Bikers of Brooklyn and six other biker groups, and Maimonides doctors and staff. Five cancer survivors, some of whom rode on the backs of the bikes, joined them.

“It’s really exciting,” said Cheryl Schafer, a patient at the center. “Last year was so much fun, being on a motorcycle for the first time in my life.”

Each rider provided his or her own bike, according to Dr. Patrick Borgen, the Maimonides Breast Cancer center’s director, who started Ride2Live nine years ago to raise awareness about the center—which not enough people know about, he said—mammograms, and the borough’s breast cancer rates.

“Breast cancer is very common in Brooklyn. There are nearly 2,000 women who get it every year,” Borgen said. “These bikers, you will find, are the nicest people in the world…[They are] very passionate while they support the cause.”

“It’s a scary thing, cancer,” Jennifer K., a Bikers of Brooklyn member, said. “I want to bring more awareness to the cause.”

The ride led to the after-party site, the Baron De Kalb Knights of Columbus in Sheepshead Bay, where a band of cancer doctors played music, and celebrated with the bikers and a few hundred other people.

October is national Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Borgen said Maimonides wanted the event at least to break even and instituted a $20 registration fee, In the end, $10,000 was raised for the breast cancer program.

But Borgen said they were just happy to ride for the cause.

“We see it more as a friendraiser than a fundraiser,” he said.

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