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Spokerride will still back Livestrong foundation

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SACKETS HARBOR — Each July for the past decade, cyclists have converged upon this village to support the Livestrong Foundation through the Spokerride.

The founder and organizer of the Spokerride said they will continue to do so.

Lance Armstrong was stripped of his seven Tour de France titles on Oct. 22 by the International Cycling Union, two weeks after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency exposed widespread drug use and trafficking among Armstrong and his teammates.

Armstrong may have felt as if he was struggling up a pass in the French Alps this month as he was dropped by Nike, Anheuser-Busch and other sponsors, and he gave up the top spot at Livestrong, his beloved cancer-fighting charity.

But Livestrong still will operate, and the Spokerride will continue to be a fundraiser for it.

“No matter what he did on the racing circuit, it in no way reflects on Livestrong and all of the good things that it does,” said Jeffrey A. Wood, founder of the annual Spokerride. “That organization has done more for survivors than any other cancer-related charity. For that, I’m eternally grateful.”

The foundation doesn’t fund research and development, but rather identifies issues faced by cancer survivors in order to improve their quality of life. The foundation reports that 82 percent of money raised last year went to its programs; 13 percent went to fundraising and 5 percent went to administration.

Mr. Wood, technical services manager at Samaritan Medical Center, is a cancer survivor. In 1999, he had surgery to remove a testicular tumor. In 2001, he had a recurrence, and the cancer had spread to his lymph nodes in his abdomen. He underwent chemotherapy and more surgery.

In 2008, he published the book “Riding the White Line,” which described his cancer battle and how bike riding became therapeutic.

Spokerride participants can choose either a 30- or a 50-mile course. In the event’s first year, 60 riders raised $2,800. This July, at the ride’s 10th anniversary, 195 riders raised $9,850. The Spokerride’s name is derived from the original “poker ride” format of the ride/race.

“To date, we have raised over $71,000,” Mr. Wood said.

Since 2007, the ride’s profits have been split with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

The 2013 Spokerride is scheduled for July 27.

The event is on the Internet at www.spokerride.net

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