SOMERS, N.Y. – Not all charity events make a huge splash their first year, but a spinning class with an altruistic twist attracted dozens of area residents to the New York Sports Club (NYSC) of Somers last month for an intensive three-hour session that raised thousands of dollars for breast cancer awareness and research.

“I’m expecting this event to grow with excitement,” said Craig Scialdone, NYSC general manager. “Initially we didn’t know how it would turn out, being it is the first one. But we just had so much support from so many different individuals, parties and local businesses that got behind the cause.”

Each biker donated $25 for every hour they rode as they faced the challenge of completing all three hours. They were led by Mahopac resident and NYSC instructor Ken Carroll, who conceived the spin-a-thon fundraiser. An avid cyclist himself, Carroll motivated the riders with pumping fists while speed-spinning on his bike all morning. His enthusiasm paid off: The event raised more than $2,500.

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“It started with some of my students telling me that they or their mothers have breast cancer or had it,” Carroll said. “So that stuck in my mind. I also wanted to raise the level [of member participants to] where they have never been before by doing a three-hour spin class. I started training them for it before the event.”  

Every cent of the proceeds goes to Support Connection, a Yorktown-based organization that helps those living with breast and ovarian cancer. 

“They are very prominent in many activities that go on in this area,” Scialdone said of the nonprofit. “Local restaurants donated gift cards and people donated gift baskets to raffle off with 100 percent of the money going to Support Connection.”

Fishkill Farms donated boxes of apples for snacks for the spinners. Carroll passionately pushed them to continue while chanting, “You’ve got to want it!”

“To continue to have the desire and strength to do three hours with me is really something else,” Carroll said. “They had to dig deep. It was wonderful and the turnout was super. The event brought a lot of people together on this because they all have something in common.”

Carroll, who has been teaching spinning at NYSC for a number of years, has ridden in his share of marathons and can be spotted on any given day biking around Mahopac.

“He is a cycling enthusiast and came to me with the idea last spring,” Scialdone said of Carroll. “If he’s not doing spin classes here, he’s doing 100-mile runs for all different causes.

“October was Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so we decided to hold it off until then.”

As participants worked away on their stationary bikes, Carroll turned down the music to shout out and ask everybody who they were riding for. He heard responses from every one of his bikers, who were all smiles as they interacted with Carroll during cooling-down periods.

The entire group sang along with “Running for Life” during the warm-up and the session ended with the “Rocky” movie theme song, followed by hugs among all the participants.

“It was awesome,” Scialdone said of the event. “I hope it’s the start of something that gets bigger.”

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