Cancer survivor Katie Bimonte’s spirit can brighten even a gloomy afternoon.
“I’m grateful, I’m happy, I’m proud, life is so good, you have so much to be thankful for,” said Bimonte.
Always with a smile, she’s the leader of “Team B,” a Closer to Free ride group of friends out to always have a good time, raise money, and make a difference.
“It’s a cumulative effort of the twenty of us on the team,” said Bimonte.
They bring the party with them year round, raising money through events like dance parties that capture the who they are. This year though, is different.
“We’re all telling our stories, we’re ending up hugging, you can’t do it this year, but we have some loyal supporters and we’re going strong, we’re making some good strides in getting donations still,” she said.
And their support for the cause, Smilow Cancer Hospital, continues.
“We have a couple other family members and a couple other friends who were successfully treated at Smilow. Thank god they got wonderful care,” she added.
So Katie carries with her the names of those they’ve lost and those who survived during the Closer to Free Ride.
She and her husband Guy share an unmatched enthusiasm for Closer to Free. Team members say Katie is an inspiration, while Katie says it comes from the people at Smilow Cancer Hospital.
“They’re cheering us on and we’re just like crying, and we just get so pumped up for these people, people that we see that we know we’re going to help,” said Katie.
The pair lead the way for their circle of friends six years ago with Katie’s first ride. Guy soon followed.
“I got involved and then all our friends got involved. Some are riders, some are just in our crew and just love to be there,” said Guy.
In true Team B fashion, Katie, Guy and the rest of the team are adapting this year since the Closer to Free Ride is a virtual one on September 12.
They’ll start in Clinton, watch the virtual opening ceremonies, and head out on a 35-mile ride.
“And then we’ll come back to where we started, and we’ll have our Yale bowl party,” said Katie.
They hope people will join them, in small groups spread throughout the closer to free family… keeping their goal in mind.
“There’s no better feeling,” said Guy. “We’re just a small part, maybe, our team. But on a bigger scale, all these small parts come together there’s gonna be a cure someday.”