Ohm was not an avid cyclist when she participated in her first Empire State
Ride in 2019, and admitted that to her friends on Facebook. Her
post caught the attention of Chas Hoff, ’97.
"I saw Joyce's post and it intrigued me because I had just
gotten back into cycling. And I knew if Joyce was involved, it was
something special," said Hoff, who lives in Cleveland, Ohio, and
works for NASA as a public affairs specialist.
Cyclists — there were 240 this year — ride about 80 miles each day
and camp at night. They are supported with meals, medical attention
and a logistics team. Participants are expected to raise at least
$3,500; riders this year raised $1.5 million for Roswell Park.
Cardenas, ’00, noted what his friends accomplished during past rides
and wanted to join them in July.
"It's a fantastic challenge and a great cause," said
Cardenas, who is the assistant city manager for the City of Novi.
"I'm so glad we were able to reconnect. Throughout the ride, I
heard unbelievable stories of perseverance from cancer survivors. I am
so glad I had the opportunity to do this with my Grand Valley classmates."
Hoff said the ride was therapeutic at times. "You can ride with
others or go by yourself for the times you need therapy and not a lot
of other people around," he said. Like many riders, Hoff rode in
memory of his mother and grandmother, who both died from cancer.
All three alumni served in student government while attending Grand
Valley and said they still draw from that experience. "The
leadership opportunities we had were pivotal for me, for all of
us," said Ohm, who was president of Student Senate in 1995.
Hoff said he took the university's values to heart. "What I
appreciate about Grand Valley is, as part of its value system, the
servant leadership mindset that is cultivated among students," he
said. "Giving back is being part of the solution. The university
nurtures that in Student Senate and elsewhere."