A family of first-time riders will be honoring their late husband, father and grandfather at the 2017 Closer to Free Ride benefiting Yale-New Haven’s Smilow Cancer Hospital.
Harry and Kathy Randall were married for 46 years.
“We met in high school and he was always Randy (nickname),” Kathy said.
Together, they raised two children before later becoming grandparents.
“He was a very creative and artistic person and he passed that along to my kids, to my niece and nephew to this day, they always still think of him,” Randy’s son, Scott Randall, said.
In the fall of 2011, doctors at Smilow diagnosed Randy with a type of leukemia.
“The white blood cell count was off and his GP sent him to a blood specialist who did some tests and sent him here to Smilow for further evaluation,” Kathy said.
During treatment, Randy required a stem cell transplant after his leukemia morphed into T-cell lymphoma.
“Ultimately, his body wasn’t able to fight back and he lost his life on the 31st of October, 2015,” Kathy said.
Before he passed away at age 67, riding in Closer to Free was on Randy’s bucket list.
“I think he wanted to ride because he wanted to give back to Smilow in some way because of all the things they had given him,” Scott said.
Kathy Randall said she has not been on a bike in “probably 30 years,” but on a Saturday morning in September, Randy’s loved ones will come together on team “Randy’s Riders.”
“Because he’s obviously not able to do it, my children and all my grandchildren are riding with me in September and we will cross that finish line for Harry.”
They are riding for Randy and to raise money for critical research and patient care at Smilow.
“It was important to him that research continue because that’s going to be our lifeline to finding cures in the future,” Kathy said.
There is still time to sign up for Closer to Free, which will kick off on Saturday, September 9.