Today, Bill Loecher is one of Roswell Park’s most active and passionate volunteers. But when he first visited 15 years ago with a loved one who was undergoing cancer treatment, he realized he didn’t know much about the place.
“Like most people, I knew Roswell Park is the place to go for cancer treatment,” said Bill. “But I didn’t immediately understand the importance of the research that happens there, too.”
Inspired by the care his family member received, Bill began volunteering with The Ride For Roswell a few years later. Through his volunteer work, he had the opportunity to meet some of Roswell Park’s research scientists and gain a better understanding of the landmark studies being led there every day.
He also learned how community donations to Roswell Park are used, as critically-needed grants that support the earliest stages of promising research. These grants, also known as seed funding, are awarded to the research projects led by Roswell Park scientists that have the most potential to find new, more effective ways to treat cancer.
“I saw how these funded projects were making such a great difference in our efforts to understand and treat cancer, and I knew that with more support, we could accelerate even more groundbreaking research,” said Bill. “I want Western New Yorkers to understand how important their donations are to that process. The research and clinical trials at Roswell Park are changing the way we treat cancer—around the world but also right here at home. That’s only possible because of the generosity of supporters in the community.”
That generosity was the inspiration behind Herd of Hope, the brand new fundraising effort that gives Buffalo businesses the chance to support this crucial research. Bill, who serves as chair of the campaign, wants to give every Western New York-based company the opportunity to take part.
“Time after time, Western New Yorkers rally around the causes they care about. Nobody does that like Buffalo,” said Bill. He sees the Herd of Hope as the chance for our corporate community—including businesses of all sizes—to come together in support of a cause that directly affects their friends, family, employees, customers and fellow citizens. “The idea behind this campaign is that together, we can have a greater impact.”
Companies that participate in Herd of Hope will receive a striking blue buffalo statue to display in their place of business. The statues will help raise awareness of this important cause and will show customers, employees and the public that these companies are dedicated supporters of Roswell Park’s mission.
The blue buffalo symbol connects the campaign to another popular community effort for Roswell Park: the Herd About Buffalo public art program, which took Western New York by storm in 2000 and again in 2010. Ultimately, though, Bill believes the campaign’s distinctive statue represents our community spirit—collaborative, generous and caring.
“I think of the herd of blue buffalo statues as a symbol of the pride, strength and compassion that Western New Yorkers are known for,” said Bill. “When you see the Herd of Hope buffalo at a local business, you’ll know right away what they stand for—making a difference in the fight against cancer.”
If you are interested in becoming a Herd of Hope partner, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 716-845-HERD. You can also make your donation online.