SUMMIT, NJ — Cycle for Survival returned to the Summit Equinox on Saturday for the 11th annual indoor-cycling event that dedicates money toward rare cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. To date, the fundraiser has raised more than $15 million in 2017 and is well on its way to surpassing $30 million by April, as it did in 2016.
Rare-cancer survivors, current cancer patients, caregivers and other community members once again organized teams to participate in this high-energy fundraiser led by Equinox instructors and also raised money in the months leading up to the event that will go directly toward rare-cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Some Livingston-based teams who participate every year include the 6 a.m. Spinners, the Livingston High School cheerleading squad and the former Livingston mayors, which this year included Rudy Fernandez, Steve Santola, Gary Schneiderman and current Mayor Shawn Klein. Organized by Fernandez many years ago, the former mayors team has always been a passionate supporter of Cycle for Survival.
“We formed our first team when the event was hosted at the Livingston Senior and Community Center and have been riding ever since to support this wonderful event,” said Fernandez. “The money raised has already created new treatment options for people going through this terrible disease. I'm hoping through the research funded by Cycle, we won't need fundraisers like this anymore.”
Founded by Livingston native Jennifer Goodman Lynn in 2007 and continued by her parents, Len and Sandy, following her death, this annual event has become a nationwide movement with more than 26,000 riders in 21 Equinox clubs throughout the country.
Livingston resident and Thyroid cancer survivor Colleen Uliano has participated in Cycle for Survival for the past four years. Following her diagnosis in 2013, she visited Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for a second opinion because of the center’s extensive cancer knowledge.
Uliano underwent a full thyroidectomy at the center, during which the surgeons found more cancer than expected. However, they were able to remove it and several months later Uliano made a full recovery.
Each year, Uliano cycles for four-consecutive hours not only because of her own diagnosis, but also because she lost her father to cancer.
“While I was in the hospital, I heard so many sad stories from people, many who weren’t as lucky as me and when I took part in the first Cycle for Survival, when I walked in and heard the music blasting and felt everyone’s energy I just started to cry,” she said. “This event means the world to me.”
Even with so many other cancer fundraisers, Uliano encourages everyone to take part in Cycle for Survival because 100 percent of all money raised goes directly to rare-cancer research.
Cycle for Survival rides take place in 15 additional cities across the country in February and March, uniting more than 31,000 participants and 200,000 donors. Click HERE to read more or find a ride.
All photos were provided by Jennifer Pottheiser of Cycle for Survival.