By Rick Miller

A 65-pound blue buffalo arrived at the Holiday Valley ski resort Jan. 24 — with his skis strapped on — to signify the resort’s help in the fight against cancer. 

The aluminum sculpture was delivered by Bill Locher, the volunteer chairman of Roswell Park Cancer Institute’s Herd of Hope, who said the 150 other sculptures and a series of smaller bison models have raised nearly $1 million for Roswell over the past 18 months. 

In remarks before the Buffalo sculpture was taken up the Mardi Gras slope on the chairlift, Locher thanked Holiday Valley officials, including president Dennis Eshbaugh, for sponsoring the Herd of Hope. 

After the ride up the slope and back down on the skis with a tether rope, the Herd of Hope sculpture will be placed at his new home on the plaza deck outside the Main Lodge. 

Several Western New York businesses have joined the Herd of Hope with the goal of raising awareness of the research taking place at Roswell Park while raising funds to advance innovative ideas that have the potential to make a significant difference in the fight against cancer. 

“People come to Roswell with the expectation of being cured,” Locher said. “To raise this money is so important for cancer research.” 

Eshbaugh said, “Holiday Valley has supported Roswell through a 12-year sponsorship of Team Holiday Valley in the Ride For Roswell and a second year of sponsoring the team in the Empire State Ride, a seven-day bicycle trip of 540 miles across New York state. We really believe in the work that Roswell is doing and want to do our part to help find a cure for cancer.” 

Team Holiday Valley members include Eshbaugh, his wife Jane Eshbaugh, director of marketing; Bonnie Koschir, vice president of operations; David Trathen, vice president of finance; Debbie Stein, Doug Schutte and Charlie Bailey. 

“Holiday Valley is excited to be part of supporting the herd of Hope,” Dennis Eshbaugh said. “We appreciate what Roswell has done. We all have friends and family impacted by this disease.” 

Funds raised through the Herd of Hope campaign will fuel new innovative cancer research at Roswell Park, from the latest in immunotherapy treatments and personalized medicine to groundbreaking clinical trials that bring the treatments of tomorrow to patients today. 

The collective contributions from the Herd will have the ability to make a substantial difference, Locher said.

(Contact reporter Rick Miller at rmiller@oleantimesherald.com. Follow him on Twitter, @RMillerOTH)