Columbia University Medical Center

Velocity Rider: Ilene Anesini

Ilene Anesini

Ilene Anesini, assistant vice president, finance and operations, Office of Development

Ilene Anesini, assistant vice president, finance and operations, Office of Development, originally signed up for the 10-mile route of Velocity: Columbia’s Ride to End Cancer, but she has had so much success with fundraising, she is “upgrading” to 25 miles.

“I think people feel good giving to an opportunity like this,” she says. “Columbia stands for excellence, and people want to donate to the work of CUMC. Donors realize they’re investing in the future of cancer care.

“I really believe in the work our cancer center is doing, and I’ve seen the wonderful care CUMC is providing two of my friends who are currently battling the disease.”

Like most families, Ms. Anesini’s has been touched by cancer, and it gives her extra motivation to tackle the 25-mile route. “My cousin died earlier this year at age 53 from cancer. There’s a lot more that needs to be done, and I know it’s very expensive, time-consuming, and complicated work.”

Ms. Anesini has recruited her cousin’s 19-year-old son to join her at the finish line, and she is looking forward to riding with all those committed to raising money for cancer research and clinical care.

“The Velocity ride is a great way to build community at CUMC,” she says. “Many departments have already put teams together and are organizing training rides, and what’s better than exercising for a common cause?”

Velocity is the second time Ms. Anesini has done crowd fundraising, and Velocity provides coaches and fundraising resources that make it easy, she says.

Her top tip? “I think it’s important to donate first to your ride when you sign up,” she says. “It shows people you’re committed to your cause. Then post the news on social media. Once I shared my Velocity campaign on Facebook, my friends donated, and then my cousin’s family members tapped their friends. It all happened pretty quickly. I maintain the momentum by posting photos and updates of my training rides.”