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BY SHAVANA ABRUZZO | Cheryl Schafer has stage-four breast cancer and goes for grueling chemotherapy every three weeks, but that didn’t stop the plucky Canarsie native from donning a crash helmet and jumping on a chopper last month to raise cash for the Maimonides Breast Cancer Center in Sunset Park — Brooklyn’s only medical facility dedicated to the second-leading killer of women in the country.
“It was my first time on a motorbike,” said the retired public school teacher, who burned rubber with other health warriors in a roaring cavalcade that stretched several blocks deep, drawing cheers and waves from sidewalk spectators, at the eighth annual Ride 2 Live motorcycle tour through Brooklyn. “I looked in the mirror and the line of people on bikes was back as far as I could see.”
Riders raised $4,000 and helped to spread awareness about life-saving screenings, said Maimonides’s chairman of surgery Dr. Patrick Borgen, who organized the event with Bikers of Brooklyn.
“Early detection is vital to increasing the rate of survival among breast cancer patients,” said Borgen, also director of the hospital’s breast cancer program and a research pioneer who helped to discover the genes that cause breast cancer and led to surgical methods now widely used in treatments. “We’re making noticeable progress in this battle, but it is still extremely important for women to continue to get annual screenings and mammograms.”
The Harley-riding oncologist led the convoy of motorcycle enthusiasts — including medical workers, members of area motorcycle clubs, and individuals — from the Sunset Park facility to an after-party at the Baron De Kalb-Knights of Columbus post in Sheepshead Bay.
The ride reinforced the message, stated Schafer.
“It raised awareness, it raised funds, and it united groups that you might not otherwise put together,” she said.