“Cancer has unfortunately been a part of my life for many years,” said Steve Maynard.
Over the years, Steve Maynard has lost both his mother and mother-in-law, and close friend to cancer.
At the Smilow Cancer Hospital healing garden Wednesday afternoon, he talked to us about them and the loss of his grandson.
The little boy loved being outside, whether it was at the garden during treatment, or hiking along Sleeping Giant.
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“He was a master of the trails, he loved it there,” Maynard said.
He also has two very close friends who are cancer survivors. All of them are why he decided to join the Closer to Free Ride.
“I just felt like I needed to do something,” he said.
Maynard had not been on a bike since he was a kid, and four years ago he took his first Closer to Free Ride with Team Craft Beer.
“I’m frequently at New England Brewing Company and other beer locations in Connecticut, and people were talking to me, saying ‘Hey you have to join Team Craft Beer,’” Maynard said.
And he became a top fundraiser, hitting the premier circle at $2,500.
“Last year, because of my grandson’s diagnosis, was a really difficult year for all of us. And that really stepped me up into high gear to try to make even more of an impact," Maynard said.
He said the ride is like a partnership with his donors, who are often friends and family, that he meets and talks with in person.
“Part of what makes it so powerful to me is that they thank me for doing this. ‘Thank you for riding, we appreciate that you’re doing this,’” he said.
He said the ride’s funding for research, treatment and support programs at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center are important. He’s seen the impacts of the programs on those he lost and those who are still here.
“I think it’s just such a great cause because it helps people in all aspects of going through cancer," Maynard said.