Cycle For Survival Breaking Sweat to Target Rare Cancers

eattleites are notorious for biking to and from every corner of the city. But what if they could make their wheels useful for not only traveling and working out, but also to fight cancer?

On Saturday, Feb. 28, Seattleites will come together at Fremont Studios to raise money for rare cancer research at the Cycle for Survival bicycling fundraiser.

Research for rare cancers lacks financial backing, leaving patients with limited or non-existent treatment options. A type of cancer is deemed “rare,” according to the National Institutes of Health, if it affects fewer than 200,000 individuals in the United States. Rare types include brain, pancreatic and pediatric cancers.

Cycle for Survival was created to fight these rare forms of the disease. Partnered with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) and Equinox gyms, the national movement is dedicated to mitigating the impact rare cancers have on victims.

“I lost a friend to cancer when I was in high school, and it warms my heart that even though she suffered a lot, organizations like this continue to fight for those who still can,” said Seattle University sophomore Olivia Roberts.

100 percent of all money raised this weekend will go directly to rare cancer research led by MSK. Reigning as the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, MSK has achieved over 125 years of quality patient care and cutting-edge research.

“We all just want more time to do the things we love with the people we love,” said Cycle for Survival team captain Katie Hosteny.

Hosteny’s family lost a relative to cancer about 10 months ago. Her aunt Betty, a three-time survivor of breast cancer and soft tissue sarcoma, told Hosteny about the event, and it was then that the Seattle team—named “Betty’s Buddies Rock”—began to ride along with its sister team in Chicago.

“To see [my aunt] battle and fight was just so difficult and heartbreaking and also inspirational, because the fight that she had and the attitude she had throughout the whole process was amazing,” Hosteny said.

Although Hosteny has completed many triathlons, 5k’s and 10k’s, she believes that Cycle for Survival takes the cake when it comes to fundraisers.

“If I had to pick a favorite part of the event, it would have to be the overall energy of the room,” Hosteny said. “We’re all cheering and we’re all there for the same cause. You feel the fight among the crowd.”

Founded in 2007 by MSK patient and Equinox member Jennifer Goodman Linn and her husband Dave, Cycle for Survival has since raised over $90 million dollars for rare cancer research and has funded over 100 clinical trials and research studies for MSK. Though Linn was unable to overcome her own battle with a rare cancer in 2011, the movement lives on with her passion serving as its motivation.

Every year, MSK treats 400 subtypes of cancer. All the funds gathered from Cycle for Survival are allocated within six months of the events nationwide.

This year will mark the 10th year of commitment to this cause. 15 cities across the country will participate in the event, Seattle included. By April 1, the organization hopes to surpass $100 million in money raised.
Equinox’s website says, “We ride for our generation and future generations, so they never have to suffer from a life cut short by cancer.”

To participate in Cycle For Survival, people can register as a team captain or start a team, with 4-8 riders per bike. All riders must be at least 18 years old. The indoor cycling event is accompanied by upbeat music, dancing and inspiring stories from those participating in the event.

Each bike has a minimum fundraising requirement of $1,000, but as the website reveals, the average team typically raises about $5,000 for every bike. The rides take place relay-style, with team members dividing up four back-to-back 50-minute sessions on the stationary bike.

Many corporate teams take part in the cause, with over 6,000 participants on these teams since last year. Oftentimes companies will match the donations made by their employees.

Everyone in the Seattle area is encouraged to join the battle this Saturday at Fremont Studios from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. Visit Cycle for Survival’s website, www.cycleforsurvival.org, to connect with the movement and its partners.

Vikki may be reached at
vavancena@su-spectator.com.

Vikki Avancena is a junior biology major. She plays guitar and rants about silly, obscure things when words for essays and articles and life fail her. She loves awkward situations and smiles.


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