Green Mountain Motorcycle Ride: In it for the distance

A charity ride celebrates the breast cancer survivor who inspired this annual motorcycle event

Diane Yunggebauer and nephew John Brasseur at the 2012 Green Mountain Motorcycle Ride.

John and Matt Brasseur started the GMMR eleven years ago as a fundraiser to support an aunt diagnosed with cancer. Today that aunt is a breast cancer survivor, and the event has grown into an extended family of riders wanting to contribute to the fight against cancer.

On August 18, 2013, motorcycle enthusiasts from all over New England will ride through the scenic countryside of New Hampshire and Vermont, raising money to fight cancer. They'll travel the 110-mile route with a New Hampshire man who in 2003 founded the event to support his aunt, who had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Best of all, they'll be cheered at the start and finish by the aunt herself.

"I'm alive, and I'm really proud just to say that I'm here 11 years after my breast cancer diagnosis," says Diane Yunggebauer. "I'm happy to be raising money for cancer research."

Supporting research, equipment, and supportive patient services at Norris Cotton Cancer Center

The 2013 Green Mountain Motorcycle Ride starts and finishes at Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, NH, northern New England's only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Funds raised by the riders support cancer research (including clinical trials that offer access to the latest innovations in care) state-of-the-art equipment, and services (massage, support groups, and resource libraries) to support people living with cancer. This year the goal is to raise $30,000.

New drug and surgical procedure made treatment at NCCC less painful

Diane knows firsthand how supporting cancer research improves care: Her treatment at NCCC benefitted from the addition of a new drug, and from a new surgical procedure that spared her the pain and complications of removing all the lymph nodes in her arm.

Encouragement, sense of purpose, and celebration: "People do survive"
Tree with ribbons

The GMMR honors those whose lives have been touched by cancer. At the end of the day, many attach ribbons with names of loved ones on a tree outside the Norris Cotton Cancer Center.

The Green Mountain Motorcycle Ride finishes with a party that includes barbecue, live music, door prizes, raffle drawings, and a chance to personally shake Diane's hand as a member of the extended family of riders who have supported her in her journey.

"In addition to raising money for research, I want the event to be encouraging for people," says Diane. "Many of the people who come have lost someone to cancer or have someone they know dealing with it right now. I want them to know that people do survive."

One participant with a special appreciation for Diane's participation is Tim McCarville, the chair of this year's event. Tim's brother is a brain cancer survivor who was diagnosed in 1996 and his team from Hypertherm, Inc., in Hanover has led fundraising for the past two years (his wife Linda led individual fundraising last year).

"Seeing Diane there each year reaffirms what we're doing this for," he said.

By Rick J. Blount

August 12, 2013