Annie’s journey to the Ride for Roswell

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A black and white photo of a family of five on the front porch of a house, mother is holding daughter on her lap, one son is sitting on the sidewalk and the father has his arm around the other son's shoulder.

The beginning of 2020 hit Annie and her young family like a ton of bricks. Going through the pandemic was difficult enough, but for parents, it posed a more difficult challenge — homeschooling. Annie and her husband, Mike, found themselves at home learning how to live in a world plagued by a pandemic.

No matter what the pandemic tried to throw at them, their love for each other and their family would weather it all. But then, out of nowhere, the hardest day came knocking at their door when Annie was diagnosed with breast cancer.  

“It has literally been one of the worst years of my family’s life. I was 40 when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I have three little kids, ages 4, 6 and 8. I was diagnosed a month after the world shut down. Talk about going from bad to worse!”

Annie Cohoon, Ride for Roswell Torchlighter

All Annie could think about was protecting her children, Jack, Finley and Maddox. Annie knew she had to stay strong. “The thought goes into your head as a parent, Oh my gosh — what is the likelihood that this could happen to my kids?,” she says. To combat the fear of hereditary cancer, Annie and her family are fighting back. “To know that there is a cure out there makes this journey a little bit easier.”

Annie’s diagnosis rocked her to her core. Once she told her family, they surrounded her with love. Undergoing cancer treatment is challenging. Taking it on while in the midst of a pandemic and raising children can make matters seem impossible, but when you fight for your loved ones, anything is possible.

Annie’s family grabbed hold of the best tools available to fight back against her cancer. She started treatment at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, and they all signed up for the Ride for Roswell in support.

Friends, family, loved ones and even strangers are donating their energy, time, funds and support to Annie and her family’s Ride for Roswell. “The reason I ride is because I want the accessibility of Roswell Park to be there for everybody,” Annie says. "To know that there is a cure for this, even if you get a stage 4 diagnosis.”

Just as the world is approaching the end of the pandemic, Annie is coming out on the other side of therapy, ready to thrive. She's scheduled to complete her last round of treatment a week before the Ride, and she and her family will ride through the finish line together.

She's ready to celebrate her victory and show her community that cancer doesn’t always win. She says they'll have a huge celebration after the Ride: “I get emotional just thinking about it.

“Roswell Park is a place I never, ever wanted to step foot in, but it is also a place that as soon as I did, I was instantly filled with hope. It is the most incredible place to go when you have to go somewhere,” she says.   

Soon Annie and her family will close this chapter of their journey, but the impact of their participation will reverberate among other families looking for hope. “I raise funds to help cancer research so that if I have a recurrence, or if someone else from my family is impacted, one day there can be a cure. I couldn’t pick a better place to raise money for.

“I am excited for August 7. To say treatment is done, and to say we raised money for Roswell — I can’t think of a better way to spend a day."

Ride for Roswell 2021

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Editor’s Note: Cancer patient outcomes and experiences may vary, even for those with the same type of cancer. An individual patient’s story should not be used as a prediction of how another patient will respond to treatment. Roswell Park is transparent about the survival rates of our patients as compared to national standards, and provides this information, when available, within the cancer type sections of this website.