Written by Linda Portney Goldstein Friday, 25 November 2011 00:00
Cycle for Survival is the annual, indoor, relay-style, cycling event that raises money for research on rare cancers at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). It will take place here on the Island, February 4 at the Equinox Gym on Glen Cove Road in Greenvale and you don’t have to be a member at Equinox to participate. Three things make Cycle for Survival unique.
First and foremost, Cycle is the only event of its kind that exclusively supports research on rare forms of cancer. Most people don’t realize that all pediatric cancers, pancreatic, ovarian, cervical, brain, head, neck, Leukemia and Lymphoma as well as metastatic melanoma and stomach cancer fall under the very wide umbrella referred to as “rare” cancers. The definition of a “rare “ cancer is one with fewer than 200,000 affected individuals in the United States, however as an aggregate more than 50 percent of all people diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. have one of these “rare” forms. Representatives of Cycle for Survival note that research on rare cancers is often drastically under funded and in general there are fewer treatment options for these patients because funding for drug trials often lags behind more commercially viable drugs.
Second, the money raised from Cycle for Survival is “turn-key” in that it is immediately put towards the most promising research at MSKCC in order to fast track clinical trials. In some cases funds from Cycle have reduced the time it takes for research in a lab to reach patients from five years to as few as 18 months. And every dollar raised goes directly into research and clinical trials on rare cancers. Since 2007 Cycle for Survival has funded 25 clinical trials and research studies.
Third, “Cycle” was started by a spinning enthusiast, Jennifer Goodman Linn and her husband David when she was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in 2004. From day one the energy and positive vision that Jen and David brought to the fight galvanized a movement that grew from 50 bikes at one Equinox gym, to what is now a national effort taking place in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Washington D.C., Long Island and in satellite locations around the world. That first year, 2007, 230 participants raised $250,000. Last season 4,500 participants helped raise over $4.7 million. With over 10,000 participants expected to join the ride this February, Cycle is on target to be the biggest, most successful ride to date.
Having known Jen Linn personally, I looked forward to participating in the event each year, but this year will be different because it is the first time the effort is being undertaken without the physical presence of Jennifer Goodman Linn. However, her sense of fun, lust for life and the “can do” spirit that made her such a force continues to suffuse the movement and will pervade the events. In fact, Cycle for Survival usually has a festive aura with great instructors, massage therapists, snacks, healthy drinks and a Kid’s Zone. It is always a fun day. You can form your own team and reserve a bike; sign up to participate on an existing team or just make a donation. A bike requires four to eight riders.
If you are interested in obtaining more information go to www.cycleforsurvival.org or call 646-227-2762.