New York's governor will ride alongside music icon Billy Joel in a statewide motorcycle ride to raise awareness about breast cancer before signing legislation that expands access to screenings for the disease. Gov. Andrew Cuomo will begin his ride Monday morning at Sunken Meadow Park on Long Island, reports the AP. From there, the Democratic governor will ride alongside his girlfriend, Food Network star and breast cancer survivor Sandra Lee, and the Piano Man himself. The trio will join hundreds of motorcycle riders as they travel into New York City, stopping at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in Manhattan before heading upstate. The ride will end Monday evening in New Paltz. Cuomo is poised to sign legislation along the ride that would compel 210 hospitals to expand hours when mammograms are offered and require insurance companies to eliminate deductibles and copays for the screening and other diagnostic tests.
"Early detection is the best possible treatment for breast cancer, but far too many women face burdensome scheduling and insurance barriers that prevent them from gaining access to the diagnostic services they need and deserve," Cuomo said in a statement. "This ride is about spreading awareness and sending that message loud and clear, because when it comes to getting screened for cancer, waiting is simply not worth the risk." Some 15,000 women across the state are diagnosed with breast cancer every year, and 2,640 die from the disease. Harley Davidson is donating a custom motorcycle for the governor to ride. It will later be auctioned off by the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the governor's office said. A second motorcycle ride is planned for next month.