Equinox Bethesda Hosts Cycle for Survival for the First Time

All of the money raised will go toward research into rare and often-ignored cancers.

By: Melissa Romero

This is Cycle for Survival's first year without founder Jennifer Goodman Linn, who started the event as a way to raise awareness of rare cancers. Photographs courtesy of youfearless.com.

Expanding a philanthropy to new cities is usually cause for celebration. But for Cycle for Survival organizer Dave Linn, this year’s events are bittersweet. “They’re particularly emotional for me, and for many people—it’s the first year without my wife,” he says.

Jennifer Goodman Linn, who suffered from a rare soft tissue cancer called sarcoma for seven years, succumbed to the disease last July. A couple of years after she was diagnosed, she and Linn organized Cycle for Survival, a cycling event held at Equinox clubs nationwide to raise money for research into rare cancers.

Cycle for Survival began in New York City in 2007, and has since spread to five other cities, including Bethesda for the first time this year. “The main reason we decided to expand was because people asked us to,” Linn says. “People in the DC, LA, and San Francisco areas had read about Cycle for Survival and told me, ‘We want to participate.’”

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LA and San Francisco’s first-year events sold out, and the DC event is close to full. But there’s always room for those who want to help the cause, says Linn. While registration for the event is free, teams of at least four are asked to raise a minimum of $1,000. The teams join together to take on individual shifts for the four-hour ride.

Those who donate can be sure their money will be put to good use: Within six months of each event, every dollar raised is used for projects led by the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. “The main goal my wife had was to help as many patients as possible,” Linn says. “One hundred percent of the money raised goes to research.”

This year, the events have raised $6.3 million, up from $4.7 million last year.

“I found one of [Jennifer’s] old e-mails from when we first started. She said, ‘If we can just raise $10,000, that would be great.’ Here we are, with over $6 million,” Dave says. “All of us are very determined to keep alive what [Jen] stood for: trying to help other patients and keeping hope even in the face of tremendous challenges.”

Cycle for Survival takes place Sunday, February 12, at Equinox Bethesda (4905 Elm St., Bethesda) from 10 AM to 2 PM. The event also features free yoga classes, massage therapy, and children’s activities. Click here to start or join a team.