Gilbertsville woman to participate in Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center

Photo by Krista Zimmerman
Sandra and Dave Monyer of Gilbertsville, Pa.
Photo by Krista Zimmerman Sandra and Dave Monyer of Gilbertsville, Pa.
Dave and Sandra wearing their ‘Strength in Numbers’tT-shirts at church – promoting the fundraising for the event.
Dave and Sandra wearing their ‘Strength in Numbers’tT-shirts at church – promoting the fundraising for the event.

One local woman has been making some life changes, and now her and her husband are hoping to change the lives of others by supporting the fight against cancer. They will be riding in the Ride to Conquer Cancer which benefits Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center.

A year ago, Sandra Monyer of Gilbertsville would descend the steps of her home twice a day. One to come down in the morning and one to go to bed each night, and that was a struggle ridden with aches and pains, becoming out of breath and sweaty. Sandra was one hundred pounds overweight and a diabetic, taking daily medications to regulate her fluctuating blood sugar.

On July 1, 2013 Sandra—a former Marine—made the personal decision to finally do something about her lifestyle and her health, for the long-term.

On that same day, Sandra started her weight loss journey that has changed her life dramatically.


“I tried fad diets many times before like you see on television. They’d work for a while and then I’d lose interest and be back at my same weight plus more. My friend told me about Wheat Belly, which is not having wheat or processed foods at all. I have not had any of that since July 1st. It’s amazing how fast the weight was coming off once I eliminated that from my life,” she explained.

Sandra was even featured in a Woman’s World magazine article that highlighted her 63 lb weight loss since starting the Wheat Belly diet.

Along with eating habit changes, Sandra was becoming more physically active; one of her favorite activities was bicycling. “After 20-some years, I was able to get back on a bicycle. It was a lot easier to do because my knees were not able to accommodate high-impact activities like running or jogging.”

Her husband, Dave, who works closely with hospitals in the Philadelphia area, saw a sign that caught his eye about a bicycle ride to raise awareness about cancer. Sandra’s father had died recently from colon cancer. He thought the ride was a good idea for the couple to participate in, so he pursued it.

A few days later on vacation, Dave and Sandra got a call from someone to explain the details of the Ride to Conquer Cancer.

The event, which lasts two-days, is a 150 mile ride through Southeastern Pennsylvania starting Saturday, Oct. 11, in Philadelphia, riding to the Emmaus Community Park where riders will camp for the night. The ride ends on Sunday, Oct. 12, back in Philadelphia.

“I thought of my dad, Ben Burchard Sr. –also a former Marine, and my journey, and also a way to honor him and the Marine mentality is unsatisfactory to be unfit. I thought it was an amazing opportunity and also to help me achieve my goals to be health again,” said Sandra. She also said the timing was great. “I really needed a goal to work towards, it’s that extra push I need to lose the last 15lbs.”

The Monyer’s signed up for the ride and have begun their journey training and raising awareness for the cause. To participate in the event, riders must raise $2,500.

In a press release from Penn Abrahams Cancer Center they say, “Funds raised will be used immediately to support breakthrough cancer research, education and patient care programs at Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center.”

“I have been using Facebook and emailing my family and friends to tell them about my participation. Everyone has been so supportive. I also golf with the Limerick Ladies League, they have made such generous donations and I had wrist bands made to sell.” Sandra also said the help from the organization has been wonderful. “They have an orientation session to meet other riders, tell us about the cause, helped us set up a fundraising website, gave us information on how to prepare, and have training rides to participate in.”

“My motivating force is really my dad. He was such a strong guy. He served in the Korean War, always a picture of health. He got diagnosed with esophageal cancer and survived that. Then he got diagnosed with Colon cancer, always staying positive and upbeat, never complaining. He even drove himself to and from chemotherapy treatments and then go to breakfast afterwards,” said Sandra. “I can’t wait to do this, it’s so exciting. I’m going to have a little Marine flag on my bike for him.”

The Ride to Conquer Cancer benefiting Penn Medicine’s Abramson Cancer Center website specifically stresses this event is not a race or for professional bicyclers and they highly encourage anyone interested to participate.

To register, donate or request information about The Ride to Conquer Cancer, visit or call (844) 777-7433.

For more information about Sandra’s fundraising campaign visit