Sandy Samberg flanked by event co-chairs Wendy Nagle and Kim Veber
Members of the SOUL RYEDERS leadership team, from left: Susan Marynowski, Heidi Kitlas, Stacy Weissberg, Rachel Felenstein, Christine Lombardo, and Lesley Findlay
Sandy and Joe Samberg with their sons Max, at left, and Zach.
Board members, pictured from left: Dawn Ewing, Adrian Deen, Zach Gibbs, Bill Miller, Pati Holmes, Kerri Winderman, Deb Goldman, Mark Doran, Emily Sharko, and Brian Smith. (Not pictured: Kimberly Lapointe.)
- Photos by Claudia Chimale
Ryed, Sandy, Ryed
Crawford Park was the perfect setting for an event honoring Sandy Samberg and celebrating SOUL RYEDERS’ 15th anniversary on April 30. Supporters from the community and beyond attended the lively and heart-warming gathering co-chaired by Wendy Nagle and Kim Veber. Guests enjoyed food and drinks courtesy of Kelly’s Sea Level, Colony Grill, and Crazy Taco-Mex Food Trucks, and live music by the Ray Greiche Band.
A year ago, Samberg pivoted from executive director to pursue other philanthropic interests and spend more time with her husband and two sons. Her vision and fortitude for building SOUL RYEDERS into the organization it is today will always be remembered and her dedication continues as she remains an active board member, volunteer, and donor.
There were many fine tributes that evening.
“A hero is someone who not only makes the ordinary seem extraordinary but knows how and when to make the extraordinary look ordinary,” said board president Billy Miller. “In life, a cancer diagnosis is an extraordinary event to both the patient and their family. Through SOUL RYEDERS, Sandy has been able to make that extraordinary moment seem manageable and face it with hope and dignity. And for that, she will always be a hero.”
Heidi Kitlas, the executive director, noted, ‘‘Working at SOUL RYEDERS has helped me heal beyond my cancer, and I believe Sandy knew that before I did. I am one of countless people she has inspired.”
The honoree self-effacingly shared: “If you have an idea that you are passionate about and you really focus and work hard, you can make it happen. It takes time, patience, energy and creative, out-of-the-box thinking. It’s about taking chances, making mistakes, and being brave.” She continued, “I always learn far more from my failures than from any successes! It takes being honest with yourself — honest about your strengths and your weaknesses, and it often takes collaborating with someone or a group of people who have skill sets that complement yours. This is the key to SOUL RYEDERS’ success.”
The generosity of many helped raise over $130,000 to launch the organization’s new Peer Support Initiative, which will address the unmet psycho-social needs of those affected by cancer.