What’s Your Why? Stories from the Velocity community.

We may have different reasons for coming together and different ways of showing our support, but we all share one goal: solving cancer. The stories below represent and showcase the passion of our community and why Velocity is important to them.

My dad, Andrew Caprio,  was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in January 2021 and passed away February 8, 2021. He was an only child who raised 7 children has 21 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren. I am participating in Velocity in honor of my dad. We all love you and miss you. 
-Annmarie Tarleton




I'm participating in Velocity in honor of my grandmother Lillian. As a teenager I helped care for her during a 2 year battle to breast cancer that she ultimately lost, after keeping an undeniable tumor hidden for 2 years prior to that. We believe with better advocacy and education especially in underrepresented communities, she would have had more time with us. A cure is long overdue. And Columbia does such great work in the fight against cancer!
-Lalena Luna



I participated in the 2021 Velocity in honor of my dad who is a two-time cancer survivor. Velocity raises money for cancer research and cures that benefit not only patients at Columbia Irving Medical Center but patients the world over. Without cancer research and life-saving treatments, my dad would not have been able to beat this disease twice. For him and everyone that has been affected by this disease, this is my way to be part of the fight against cancer.

-Dimitra Koutsantoni


I am dedicating this challenge to my oncology work family both past and present, my treatment team and most of all my fellow Cancer Survivors/Warriors. Let's help CUIMC eradicate cancer!

-Maria Emiluth Ramos



My mom, Barbara Tymkiw, was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1986. Watching her go through that wasn’t only heartbreaking and painful, it was incredibly frustrating. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough research about colon cancer at the time. They didn’t know it was normal for colon cancer to progress to the liver. By the time they found it in my mom’s liver, the cancer had completely taken over. When I ride, I don’t feel frustration. I feel optimism. I feel hope. Hope that the work we do with Velocity will lead to healthier lives, longer lives, and ultimately a cure for this disease. I Ride for my mom, Barbara Tymkiw, and for the countless cancer patients I haven’t met. And this is my Velocity.  
-Catherine Meyer


Jurell Smith has been with the Velocity Ride since the very beginning. He is a proud 5-year Rider. After the loss of several loved ones to cancer, Velocity has become Jurell’s passion and he hasn’t missed one since. He rides every year in memory of his father Lenwood, who passed away from pancreatic cancer and his stepfather Rolando, who passed away from throat cancer—all within a few years of one another. He knows there’s still work to be done in order to solve cancer for good but after his own personal experiences, he’s committed to doing all he can to help improve another patient’s life.

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