I went into Manhattan two days ago to cheer for spinners at the Cycle for Survival. This is an indoor charity event where people can hop on a stationary bike and pedal to raise money for research on rare cancers. There were 400 teams (of one to eight riders) split between two Equinox gyms in which people would spin for a half hour or more. With music blaring, bikes close together, “coaches” with microphones saying “climb that hill,” “sprint for the finish line,” and friends and relatives waving arms and yelling, it was a very exciting, energetic and emotional experience.

spinning to fund research

spinning to fund research

Some of the cyclists are cancer patients. Most are not, and everyone’s participation is providing hope, support, and fund-raising enthusiasm. Over $2.2 million has been raised so far this year, a total of $4 million since the first annual event in 2007, all used for research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Next week 100 more teams will be cycling for the first time in Chicago.

he rode the whole four hours

he rode the whole four hours

Of all 500 teams, and over 2000 cyclists, only 25 are extremists who pedaled for all four hours. I was yelling for a cancer patient I know who rode solo the entire time. In good weather he rides about 70 miles a week. He says, “I cycle because it keeps me alive…because l can…because I am still here.”

A number of celebrities were cycling as well. Here is one I cheered on, Chris Mullin, a five-time NBA All-Star who also won Olympic gold twice.

NBA All Star, Chris Mullin

NBA All Star, Chris Mullin

Most funds for research are granted to the more prevalent illnesses like breast and prostate cancer. However more than half of all cancers are classified as “rare,” because each one affects less than 200,000 people. These include cervical, stomach, brain and all pediatric cancers. It’s unbelievable that so little money is being directed to cure these rare cancers.

To learn more, visit the event’s web site, www.cycleforsurvival.org

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