On March 2nd, I will again be riding with hundreds of others on stationary bicycles for one to four hours near Grand Central in Manhattan. All to help raise funds for rare cancer research that is poorly supported by major charities. Over the last seven years, the annual Cycle for Survival events have raised $43 million, and all of it goes for experiments and loving care at Sloan Kettering in New York.

You may know that I cycle to help keep my son-in-law Evan alive, because he has a cancer so rare that there are only 100 cases like his in all the literature. The great news is that the research and hospital support have been working. Evan’s total laryngectomy in 2012 was followed by a special prosthesis that allows him to talk softly, and just recently with no hands! And when his neck tumor was removed, some of it was grafted onto mice that were then given different medical cocktails to see what worked best. Amazingly one combination of meds has affected some of his current tumors positively, so that he is still able to work, ride, and enjoy raising his three-year-old son. All very good news. But the fight is not over.

Evan gives me a good luck kiss before I start my ride last year, while daughter Josslyn laughs at my nervousness

Evan gives me a good luck kiss before I start my ride last year, while daughter Josslyn laughs at my nervousness

This year there will be 16,000 of us riding on eight days on 3950 bikes in 13 cities. We will all be cycling away to music, speed and terrain cues from the spinning instructor and the encouraging shouts of hundreds of friends and family members. It’s a very thrilling ride. Evan has again signed up for four hours, while I struggle to make it through for one hour.

If you would like to help support this event, a donation of any amount—no matter how small—would be greatly appreciated and help treat rare cancers (less than 200,000 cases in America), which include cervical, stomach, brain and all pediatric cancers. Most of the money raised through other programs goes for the common cancers, like lung, breast and prostate.

The people I contacted last year were very generous as a group, and my son-in-law and daughter were astonished by how many of you gave and sent good wishes. Evan wouldn’t be alive if he hadn’t had his laryngectomy, and your contributions really helped keep him going. Sloan Kettering is a very supportive community for its patients. Forgive me please for writing about this again, but this is the only non-profit I raise money for…and it’s for a great cause that I can relate to and then see direct results. So thank you with much gratitude.

BTW if you are in New York and want to actually cheer us on and experience the excitement of the event, or if you want to donate yourself, contact me at ira@irasabs.com for more details. We’d love to have you shouting along

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