Cycling fundraiser aids cancer patients

February 2, 2012 2:07:59 PM PST
It's one of the fastest fundraising events in the nation. Raising millions of dollars for rare cancers, and it all started with 2 New Yorkers.

Combined, rare cancers make up 50% of all cancer cases in the United States, but they usually don't get the funding they deserve for new research.

It's called Cycle for Survival. An indoor cycling event that raises money for rare cancers. It was created in 2007 by New Yorker Jennifer Goodman Linn and her husband Dave. Jen was battling a rare cancer called Sarcoma, but she ran out of options.

"It's scary enough as it is but if the doctor doesn't have a specific treatment plan that has a good chance of working it's even more scary." says David.

Known for her fearless attitude, her radiant smile and belief that anything is possible, Jen's fundraising idea started in one Equinox gym in Manhattan. Now it's a national movement with events from DC to LA. I had the honor of meeting Jen while reporting her story, but for the first time, she will not be here this year. Jen lost her long battle with cancer in July.

"No matter what she was going through 6 major surgeries, 20 types of chemo, she was always focused on how can I help other patients. I'd love to see that legacy continue. People riding for friends and family going through treatment." said David.

And the momentum continues. In 5 years, Cycle for Survival has raised nearly $15 million and counting.

Every dollar goes straight to research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. So far they have funded 25 clinical trials, giving patients with rare cancers new treatment options and new hope.

Mark Mindes is one of those patients. He is an avid roller-skater and a teacher and principal in New York City schools for 32 years. Mark was diagnosed with a rare cancer in 2008. His doctors are trying experimental treatments made possible through funding from Cycle for Survival. His wife of 25 years created her own cycle team called "Expect Miracles for Mark". They've raised almost $50,000, proof that the Cycle for Survival continues.

"Anybody that has cancer all they want is a cure." says Mark. "I hope and pray that cycle for survival will help find that cure."


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