Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Fundraising Event Advances Research and Treatments for Rare Cancers

NEW YORK, NY, February 1, 2012

More than 10,000 people nationwide will participate in Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center’s sixth annual Cycle for Survival event taking place this February at Equinox clubs in New York City, Long Island, Washington D.C., Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles. An indoor, team cycling event, Cycle for Survival funds much-needed research into better understanding and treating rare cancers. Half of all people with cancer suffer from a rare form of the disease, including pancreatic, brain, ovarian and all pediatric cancers, but face limited treatment options since research into rare cancers is often underfunded. Equinox is the Founding Sponsor of Cycle for Survival.

When facing cancer, you want to ask your doctor ‘what’s the plan?’ not ‘is there a plan?’

After being diagnosed with sarcoma, a soft tissue cancer, in 2005, Jennifer Goodman Linn experienced first-hand the limited treatment options available to rare cancer patients. She founded Cycle for Survival in 2007 to give back to Memorial Sloan Kettering and to help jumpstart much-needed funding into better understanding and treating all rare cancers.

“Rare cancers are diseases that typically are not given the same research opportunities and funding, compared to major cancers in the U.S.,” said Dr. Gary Schwartz, chief of the Melanoma and Sarcoma Service at Memorial Sloan Kettering. “Cycle for Survival overcomes the significant hurdles we face to speed funding directly to the most promising new research projects, so real progress happens much faster. This is a very smart way to have an immediate impact on cancer care.”

Within six months of Cycle events, every dollar raised is allocated to research projects led by Memorial Sloan Kettering, so that patients can see the benefits of donations in the form of new clinical trials and investigational treatment options. Through 2011, Cycle has funded 25 clinical trials and research studies on rare cancers that might not have otherwise received funding.

$14 million and counting toward a plan for those with rare cancers

Together with Equinox, in just five years Cycle for Survival has become one of the nation’s fastest-growing athletic fundraising events, raising more than $14 million and growing from a single location in New York City to six locations nationwide.

“When Jen and I founded Cycle for Survival, we brought together a small group of friends, hoping to raise $10,000 for Memorial Sloan Kettering. In fact, we raised $250,000,” said Dave Linn, co-founder, Cycle for Survival. “This little idea has grown beyond our wildest dreams to a movement that’s having a global impact on rare cancers.” 

This year marks the first without its founder, Jennifer Goodman Linn, who passed away in July 2011. Cycle for Survival supporters nationwide and in satellite events as far away as Hong Kong, London and Iceland will carry Jen’s vision to find cures for all rare cancers.

“For everyone involved, Cycle for Survival has been the ride of a lifetime—and has taken our goal of inspiring members to a whole new level,” said Scott Rosen, Chief Operating Officer for Equinox Fitness Clubs. “Together with Memorial Sloan Kettering, an organization unlike any other in its ability to give hope to millions in their quest against cancer, we feel honored to be keepers of the flame.”

Cycle for Survival 2012 events will be held in Los Angeles (February 4), San Francisco (February 4), Long Island (February 4), Chicago (February 11), New York (February 11-12), and Washington D.C. (February 12). Teams register to ride for a four hour shift, with a maximum of eight riders per bike. Teams may register multiple bikes. The event also features complimentary yoga classes, massage therapy and children’s activities. For more information, visit www.cycleforsurvival.org.

Journalists may contact the Department of Public Affairs for more information.

Telephone: 212-639-3573