Over the past ten years, we’ve watched Soul Ryeders improve the quality of life of individuals and families affected by cancer. This volunteer-driven organization has stuck to their mission while expanding their circle of care and compassion.

What started out with Sandy Samberg’s participation in the 2006 Avon Walk for Breast Cancer, in memory of one friend and in honor of another, progressed to putting together a team from Rye for the 2007 Walk. They raised over $100,000 that first year.

In short order, they organized their first education and awareness event, developed a grant program, launched The Wig Exchange, and the TieTheTown Pink campaign. They’ve supported LIVESTRONG at the Y for the past six years.

This year, Soul Ryeders is sending 15 kids to Camp Kesem. They offer Yoga for Cancer classes taught by cancer survivors. They’re starting a Caregiver Support program. And, they recently opened an office in downtown Rye, where volunteers find a variety of meaningful opportunities.

While Samberg says Soul Ryeders has “evolved organically”, the thousands of recipients of compassionate care, financial assistance, and individualized counseling might beg to differ. The organization’s evolution can be traced to a few good women, and the dozens who’ve been attracted to their cause.

Soul Ryeders invites all to its 10th anniversary celebration at Rye Town Park for food, music, and the unveiling of their gift to the community — a labyrinth, as a place for serenity and contemplation. Save the date: Sunday, September 17 from 5-6:30 p.m. at the Rye Town Park Pavilion. The rain date is October 1. Meanwhile, visit to become a permanent part of the labyrinth by purchasing an engraved bric.

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