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Cycle for Survival pedaling its way to Los Angeles

OW Staff | 2/27/2013, 5 p.m.

Cycle for Survival is a high-energy, national, indoor team cycling event that raises money to fund research into rare cancers. Cycle for Survival is owned and operated by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Care Center (MSKCC). Together with founding partner, Equinox Fitness Club, Cycle for Survival has raised more than $18 million, funding more than 50 clinical trials and research studies since 2007.

Within six months of each Cycle for Survival event, every dollar raised is allocated to a Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center research initiative devoted to discovering new and more effective treatments for rare cancers.

Cycle for Survival 2013 is expected to be the largest event yet, spanning 10 locations in eight states and bringing together more than 13,000 cyclers nationwide. The event comes to Los Angeles this Saturday, March 2.

Half of all people diagnosed with cancer suffer from a "rare" form of the disease, which includes pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer, stomach cancer, and all pediatric cancers.

"There is a pressing need to increase funding for research into rare cancers, which do not attract as much support as other forms of the disease," said Memorial Sloan-Kettering President and CEO Craig B. Thompson. "Expanded research translates directly into the development of new approaches to treatment, and funds raised through Cycle for Survival truly make a difference in patients' lives."

In 2012 alone, the event raised more than $8 million and directly funded 28 research programs for rare forms of cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma, Ewing's Sarcoma, brain cancer, uveal melanoma, triple negative breast cancer, eye cancer, bladder cancer, and head and neck cancers.

"With the support from Cycle for Survival we are making real progress in rare cancer research," said Gary Schwartz, M.D., chief of the melanoma and sarcoma service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering. "This past year at the annual Society of Clinical Oncology Meeting, Memorial Sloan-Kettering presented positive results from three studies partially funded by Cycle for Survival, and we are advancing these and multiple other studies on rare cancers into the next phases of clinical discovery."

Cycle for Survival was co-founded in 2007 by patient Jennifer Goodman Linn and her husband, Dave Linn, to raise crucial funds for rare cancer research. Sadly, Jennifer passed away in 2011.

"Jen and I originally founded Cycle for Survival to bring our friends together to help us give back to MSKCC, and the event has grown beyond our wildest dreams," said Dave Linn. "Every year Cycle for Survival nearly doubles in size and dollars raised, and we can only hope that will continue. Cycle for Survival has ignited a spirit of hope and action among the rare cancer community to join the fight to find a cure."

This weekend's event will be held at the Equinox Fitness Club in Westwood.

Satellite events will also take place in many other locations around the world. Teams register to ride a four-hour shift, with a maximum of eight riders per bike. Teams may also register multiple bikes. The event features complimentary yoga classes, massage therapy, and children's activities.

"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," says Scott Rosen, Chief Operating Officer for Equinox Fitness Clubs. "Together with MSKCC, an organization unlike any other in its ability to give hope to millions in their fight against cancer, we feel honored to be keepers of the flame kindled by Jennifer Goodman Linn, one of our most beloved members, whose memory lives on through this movement."

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center is the world's oldest and largest private institution devoted to prevention, patient care, research, and education in cancer.

Join the battle. Find out more at www.cycleforsurvival.org, or follow Cycle for Survival on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.