Skip to main content
Find a DoctorGet Care Now
Skip to main content








The Smilow Salute presented by Bank of America was back this year, as riders passed the cancer hospital, cheered on by patients, family members and employees. 

Look out, cancer: The pack is back!

After two years as a fully virtual event due to COVID-19, this year’s Closer to Free Ride welcomed cyclists back in-person on a sunny Sept. 10.

Actually, the event combined the best of both worlds, with some of the more than 2,000 participants pedaling in-person and others riding remotely, as far away as Spain, the UK and Germany.

Organizers are still tallying the amount of money raised, but as always, 100 percent of funds raised by riders and volunteers will go toward research and care at Smilow Cancer Hospital and Yale Cancer Center.

Once again, many Yale New Haven Health System employees participated, including a number of cancer survivors. Thanks to the riders, volunteers, organizers and supporters who made this year’s CTF Ride a huge success!  

Yale New Haven Hospital President Keith Churchwell, MD, captured the spirit of the CTF event during his remarks at the opening ceremony at the Yale Bowl.

Vanna Dest, APRN, senior program manager and oncology nurse practitioner (right), hugged a rider and survivor.

The CTF Ride is uplifting, fun and emotional for participants and supporters. Riders include cancer survivors, family and friends riding in honor or memory of someone, and many Yale New Haven Health employees.

Fellow participants congratulated a 100-mile rider who crossed the finish line. In-person riders could choose routes of 10, 25, 40, 65 or 100 miles. This year’s CTF also included remote riders, who chose their own routes and distances.