Charity Spotlight: Cycle for Survival

Joshua Stackhouse

February 29, 2024

Charity Spotlight: Cycle for Survival

After an unusually stressful time making dinner and finally getting the kids to sleep on her own, Sara Hawkins received a call from her husband who was on the other side of the country for business. They exchanged reports of their busy days before Sara mentioned she wasn’t feeling well. It was probably just due to the challenging evening she had had, and she told her husband not to worry. Less than an hour later, she was in an ambulance on the way to hospital. Two days later she was told she had Stage 4 gastroesophogeal junction adenocarcinoma — a rare cancer of the stomach or esophagus.

Until the day we discover a cure, cancer research will, by definition, remain underfunded. Still, some cancer research focuses are even more desperate than others. Specifically, research into rare forms of cancer see disproportionately little attention because cancer research naturally tends to focus on types with larger pools of data. That means, however, that the 50% of cancer patients diagnosed with rarer types have even fewer resources for treatment — a problem Cycle for Survival strives to eliminate.

Cycle for Survival is a fundraising initiative organized by the Memorial Sloan Cancer Center (MSK) in partnership with luxury fitness company Equinox to specifically support research and treatment of rare types of cancer. The funds raised go directly to research and treatment at MSK, an institution in New York City that “bridges the gap between research and treatment” and was recently ranked as the second-best hospital for cancer care in the nation.

The Cycle for Survival initiative was founded in 2007 by Jennifer Goodman Linn who herself was diagnosed with Sarcoma — a rare cancer that develops in bones as well as soft tissues like fat and muscle. After receiving treatment at the Memorial Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), Jen organized the first Cycle for Survival in a studio with fifty stationary bikes. The following year she organized it again but needed twice as many bikes. The year after that it had grown larger still which is when she approached MSK and Equinox — who have spearheaded the event since.

The events themselves are team rides on stationary bikes (meaning members of a team take turns on a single bike to emulate a relay race) that are characterized by celebratory, inspiring atmospheres that involve singing, cheering, and sharing stories. In-person events happen across the country, but those who can’t make it to such an event can participate in the “virtual ride” on March 9th. (In the spirit of ensuring everyone who wants to can participate, the virtual ride will be available on demand through April 15th)
To date, “Cycle” has raised over $365 million dollars. 100% of every dollar donated goes to research and clinical trials at MSK (the allocations are published here on the event’s website). Last year alone they raised $30 million but are currently shy of that mark at $23 million raised this year. Fortunately, they will be accepting donations through April 15th so there is still time for them to eclipse last year’s achievement.

Hexos has chosen to show our support by donating to Team Ladyhawk, named in honor of the aforementioned Sara Hawkins AKA “Ladyhawk”. Despite having recently undergone radiation therapy to remove a brain metastasis, as well as chemotherapy and immunotherapy to arrest the growth of the primary tumor, she will be participating in the Washington, DC ride. Along with friends and her supportive husband, her team raised the most donations in DC last year — and they hope to repeat that honor this year. They are dear friends of the Hexos family and we are proud to support their fight against this horrific disease.

Click here to find a team to support.
Click here to donate to Team Ladyhawk.


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