Bayer, the official Velocity Ride Tribute sponsor, presents “Why I Ride”, giving Velocity participants the chance to share their motivation for riding or volunteering. Read their stories, and learn how our riders are accelerating hope.


Alexander Small, MD, postdoctoral residency fellow, Department of Urology, joined Velocity: Columbia’s Ride to End Cancer as soon as the event was announced in April. “I’m a big cyclist and a urology resident so it made sense to join the team,” he says.

Dr. Small and his father, P&S alumnus Peter Small, MD’81, joined the prostate cancer team, which is tackling the 62-mile route. “Cancer has really touched members of our family and our friends in the last few years,” says the senior Dr. Small. “It’s hit close to home lately, and this event is a good way to fight back.”

“Our mission is to raise awareness for urological cancers and cancer treatment and research at Columbia,” the y

ounger Dr. Small says. “Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men, but it’s less well-known that the rate is even higher among African-American men. I used to do a lot of fundraising rides with my dad when I was growing up in Connecticut. When you have a huge group of riders out there, everyone on the street turns around and looks. It gets people’s attention.”

Andrew Miller is a passionate recreational cyclist who is channeling his grief over the loss of his mother, Susan Miller, into something good through Velocity.

“On Sunday, March 5th, my Mom passed away following a 15+ year-battle with metastatic breast cancer.  Not a day goes by that I don't miss and mourn her intensely as she was my guiding light in this world, my North Star, and a mother and grand

mother to whose inner and outer radiance words cannot do justice. I spent the afternoon of that day and the day before at her bedside reading to her with my 10-year-old daughter by my side. The photo on my page is of my mother and daughter, the two most important figures in my life.

Riding MetroNorth to work one morning in late April, I saw a poster for Velocity Ride, and I instantly knew that I needed to join the ride.

Ilene Anesini originally signed up for the 10-mile route of Velocity: Columbia’s Ride to End Cancer, but she has had so much success with fundraising, she is “upgrading” to 25 miles.

“I think people feel good giving to an opportunity like this,” she says. “Columbia stands for excellence, and people want to donate to the work of CUMC. Donors realize they’re investing in the future of cancer care. I really believe in the work our cancer center is doing, and I’ve seen the wonderful care CUMC is providing two of my friends who are currently battling the disease.”

Like most families, Ms. Anesini’s has been touched by cancer, and it gives her extra motivation to tackle the 25-mile route. “My cousin died earlier this year at age 53 from cancer. There’s a lot more that needs to be done, and I know it’s very expensive, time-consuming, and complicated work.”

Inna Kleyman, MD, assistant professor of neurology, is one of the six founding members of Brain Power, the Department of Neurology’s team for Velocity: Columbia’s Ride to End Cancer. Brain Power is made up of neurologists from several specialties including neuro-oncology and neurocritical care.

“It’s personally important for me to participate because my grandfather died from a brain tumor and I want to help in the effort to find better treatments for neurological cancers.”

Dr. Kleyman is an active cyclist and rides frequently up to Bear Mountain and other routes just outside New York City. She’s signed up for the 62.5-mile route with the rest of her team.

“I’ve never done a charity ride, so I’m looking forward to doing this,” she says. “I didn’t realize until we organized our team that we have several cyclists in our department, and I’m excited to share this experience with them.”