February 5, 2013 at 12:40 PM
WEST ORANGE, NJ - Members of the West Orange Fire Department, as well as Town Information Officer Jessica Glicker, will participate in the sixth annual Cycle for Survival at Equinox Gym in Summit on Saturday, Feb. 9. Glicker has participated with Team JENesis for over five years, and this is the first year that the WOFD has a team cycling to raise funds for the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Cycle for Survival was begun in 2007 by Livingston resident Jennifer Linn and her husband, David, after Jennifer was treated for a rare form of cancer known as sarcoma.
The organization was established to provide funding for research for rare forms of cancer (such as sarcoma, pancreatic cancer, and other carcinomas). Memorial Sloan Kettering, along with Equinox Gyms, got on board for an indoor stationary bicycle relay marathon where teams would raise pledge monies. One hundred percent of the money raised at the events goes to MSKCC and research.
Jennifer passed away on July 20, 2011, but her efforts to find cures to rare cancers have grown exponentially. In 2007, Cycle for Survival raised $250K. Last year, they raised $8.3 million, for a total of $25 million in 5 years. $7,528,219 has so far been raised for 2013, and 13,000 are expected to participate in several cities on the east and west coasts.
Memorial Sloan Kettering treats 400 types of rare cancers per year. Cycle for Survival has made it possible to fund 53 clinical trials. Fifty percent of all diagnosed cancers are rare cancers.
In 2012, Glicker recruited WOFD Firefighter Fred Kingston, himself a colon cancer survivor, to join Team JENesis. This year, Kingston formed his own team with the help of his fellow firefighters. Team West Orange FD Local 28 & 228, comprised of 11 member, has raised $10,800 to date and expects to raise more.
Another WOFD Team Member, Kevin Dean, has also survived a rare carcinoma (only 117 people in the world have been diagnosed with it). Kingston spoke of meeting fellow survivors that have benefitted from CFS, especially children, and calls the Cycle for Survival fund raiser 'phenomenal.' "At first, I was skeptical" said Kingston. "But after participating last year and seeing that 100 percent of the money raised went to MSK, I wanted to continue with my participation and do even more."
Kingston has a wife, Nancy, a daughter Marisa, 11, and a son Eric, 9.
Another enthusiastic team member, Tony Vecchio, noted that Cycle for Survival is a "first class organization." He said how organized and affirming they were to participants, including small gifts of water bottles and caps.
"We all know someone that has been affected by cancer," said Vecchio. "The first thing we ask them is 'What can I do?' Cycle for Survival is something I can do that really makes a difference."
For more information or to donate on Cycle for Survival, go to: http://www.cycleforsurvival.org.