Celebrating 18 Years
Oftentimes, the best fundraisers are born from the marriage of two concepts — a passion and a need. The success of Saddle Up for Roswell is the perfect example of that.
The 18th Annual Saddle Up for Roswell was held on September 16, 2023, at the Chestnut Ridge Equestrian Center and raised $22,268 for cancer research. Over the years, the event has raised a collective $290,000 for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“The original motivation was because Sue Williams’ husband, Terry, was diagnosed with cancer and he was getting treatment and my father worked for Roswell Park in the cancer research lab,” said event coordinator Megan Gamin. “We just thought it was a perfect partnership to raise money for Roswell, and it’s such a wonderful cause.”
Sue and Terry Williams were both avid riders and deeply involved in the world of breeding and training horses. In fact, in 1984, their horse Abdullah competed at the Los Angeles Olympics, winning a gold and silver medal in show jumping.
Carrying on Terry's Vision
At this year’s event, Sue reflected on how the idea for Saddle Up for Roswell came to be. “My husband was being treated for colon cancer at Roswell. And I can distinctly remember sitting at a horse show in Erie, Pennsylvania, and just brainstorming and thinking, ‘Why don’t we see what we can do?’ and ‘Let’s make the horse trials into a fundraiser!’”
In the beginning, they could’ve only dreamed of the event’s success in the 17 years that would follow.
“Our goal is always to beat the year before,” said Megan. “There are 125 riders, and they bring in thousands of dollars. It’s a devoted group.” The event also raises money through T-shirt sales, sponsors and a basket raffle.
While Terry passed away in 2007, Sue and Megan have continued to host and grow the fundraiser in his honor.
Sue added, “I will be 80 years old this year, and I hope it carries on for a long time. I don’t see an end in sight.”
Looking to Start Your Own Event?
For anyone looking to start a fundraiser for Roswell Park, Megan said, “If they can do it, please do it.” She also offered this advice: “Be ahead of the schedule, set a timeline, have meetings and get your core people to back you up.”
Though it can be a commitment to get an event like this off the ground, both Megan and Sue believe the reward of helping those living with cancer is well worth it every time.