Governor Cuomo Announces Bridge of Hope Dedicated to Cancer Survivors at Canalside

Patients hang symbolic ornamental bells celebrating life after cancer
Wednesday, March 16, 2016
  • Bridge of Hope

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the dedication of the Commercial Street Bridge at Canalside as the “Roswell Park Cancer Institute Bridge of Hope.” As part of the dedication, patients from Roswell Park Cancer Institute gathered at the bridge to celebrate surviving cancer with a ceremonial hanging of ornamental bells on the bridge. The ceremony was hosted jointly by Roswell Park and Canalside. A photo of one of the ornamental bells is available here

There is a widespread tradition at cancer centers throughout the country that when a cancer patient finishes treatment, he or she celebrates by ringing a bell. From this iconic location in the City of Buffalo, the Bridge of Hope at Canalside gives cancer survivors the opportunity to hang a bell to honor their survivorship.

“Cancer survivors are among the strongest and bravest individuals that a person can ever meet,” said Governor Cuomo. “The Bridge of Hope at Canalside will be a special way for survivors to celebrate their victory over this disease, and it will stand as a reminder to all of their determination and perseverance. I commend Roswell Park Cancer Institute for both helping to make this project a reality, and for helping so many New Yorkers reclaim their lives from cancer.”

Maureen Kelly, RN, MS, a cancer survivor and Vice President of Patient Care Services at Roswell Park, said: “The Bridge of Hope affords a time and place to celebrate this significant milestone in a cancer patient’s journey. Although treatment has ended for patients who ring that bell, the journey does not end. They live with fear, wondering if or when the cancer will return. They live with hope, praying that this will be the last time they will have to fight this battle. They live with an inner strength, a knowing that allows them to look at situations in life with clearer vision.”

Diagnosed with advanced breast cancer in 2009, Averl Anderson has embraced cancer survivorship by becoming a passionate advocate for breast cancer prevention and for participation in clinical studies. Today, she offered her thoughts on survivorship.

“The Bridge of Hope is a place to stand in awe of good fortune and good medicine,” said Anderson. “Cancer is a great teacher of life lessons. The Bridge of Hope is a place to pause and reflect on how far we, as cancer patients, have traveled and to embrace the moments and days to come.” 

Robert Gioia, Chairman, ECHDC, said: “Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation is pleased to be a part of this time-honored tradition for the celebration of cancer survivorship. The Bridge of Hope at Canalside, will become a destination in the years ahead to recognize the milestones of cancer survivorship, showing that life after a cancer diagnosis can be rewarding and inspiring.” 

Kenneth A. Manning, Partner, Phillips Lytle LLP, said: “Phillips Lytle is proud to partner with Roswell Park on the Bridge of Hope. Cancer is something that touches all of our lives, and the Bridge of Hope is a meaningful, impactful symbol of those who have survived. We are honored to have that symbol in our backyard at Canalside.”

Senator Tim Kennedy said: “So many of these cancer survivors have endured months of treatments, side effects of medication, countless doctor visits; their strength is awe-inspiring. Through the Bridge of Hope, all of Western New York will be able to celebrate that strength with these survivors, and let them know that they are not alone in both their fight or their victory. We’re so grateful to community partners like Roswell Park Cancer Institute, whose staff tirelessly works to help patients beat this disease, and to Governor Cuomo and Phillips Lytle LLP for helping them to celebrate a cancer-free milestone.”

Assembly Member Crystal Peoples-Stokes said: "Cancer survivors and their families have support from everyone in Western New York. The Roswell Park Cancer Institute Bridge of Hope is a symbol of support in our community. The end of treatment and ensuring ongoing support are important steps along the way to cancer recovery. I applaud Governor Cuomo for dedicating the Commercial Street Bridge at Canalside to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute Bridge of Hope.”

Assemblyman Sean Ryan said: "The Bridge of Hope at Canalside will be an inspiring site for cancer survivors throughout Western New York. I thank Roswell Park Cancer Institute and the Erie Canal Harbor Development Corporation for partnering to bring us this important addition to Canalside. I know the Bridge of Hope, located along Buffalo's waterfront, will bring comfort and strength to survivors and their families."

Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said: “Canalside is the perfect place for the Bridge of Hope and provides an ideal place for cancer survivors and their loved ones to come together to celebrate life. Every day is a gift, and the Bridge will be a gathering spot to enjoy the present of today and the hope of tomorrow.”

City of Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown said: “Buffalo’s fortunate to have many built-in assets and our revitalized downtown waterfront, which includes the new Roswell Park Cancer Institute Bridge of Hope at Canalside, is a great place to inspire and motivate cancer patients and survivors. Hearing the ‘sound of survival’ as patients ring the bell to signify an end to cancer treatment will encourage other patients and families for years to come. I thank Governor Andrew Cuomo and Roswell Park for offering this hope to all who are touched by cancer.”

Roswell Park, in recognition of the unique medical needs of cancer survivors, will open a Survivorship Center within the newly constructed Roswell Park Clinical Sciences Center this spring. Upon completion of active treatment, patients will be seen in specialized clinics for their cancer-related care and follow-up, including mammograms, colonoscopies, nutritional guidance, pain management and other services.

The Bridge of Hope will be in place at Canalside for the next three years. Phillips Lytle LLP is the generous sponsor of the silver-colored bells that will be given to Roswell Park patients upon completion of active treatment. Bells also can be purchased at participating retailers, including the Gift Shop at Roswell Park, ANNARLETTE Contemporary Women’s Fashion Boutique, 3959 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14226 and both Modern Nostalgia locations — at HarborCenter and on Hertel Avenue. Beverages for the Bridge of Hope event were donated by Dunkin’ Donuts. 

The Bridge of Hope sits on Commercial Street near the intersection of Pearl Street and Perry Boulevard.

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About Canalside
Canalside is a growing regional destination and entertainment district, situated on 21 historic acres along downtown Buffalo’s emerging waterfront on the Buffalo River. Canalside earns its name from its storied past, when the Erie Canal Harbor was built in 1825 as the western terminus of the Erie Canal. Until five years ago, the land was barren and inaccessible, but the area has been reclaimed by the state’s Erie Canal Harbor Development Corp. and developed with millions of dollars in public and private investment. With more than 1,000 yearly events and nearly 1 million annual visitors, Canalside is fast becoming the go-to place for in- and out-of-towners of all ages to learn, play and relax. For more information, visit www.canalsidebuffalo.com.

About Roswell Park Cancer Institute
The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, RPCI is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit www.roswellpark.org, call 1-877-ASK-RPCI (1-877-275-7724) or email askrpci@roswellpark.org. Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact: 

Deborah Pettibone, Public Information Specialist
716-845-4919; deborah.pettibone@roswellpark.org

Pamm Lent, Governor’s Office
716-846-8309; pamm.lent@esd.ny.gov