Last Saturday, March 1, the Roslyn Equinox Fitness Club, located at 90 Northern Blvd., paired up for the 4th year with Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center for their annual Cycle for Survival event hosting more than 1,000 people. Since it began in 2007, forty nine million dollars (and climbing) has been raised to support 85 clinical trials and research studies to fight against cancer. The inspirational event happens nationwide only in Equinox clubs over 8-days, 13 cities, 41 rides, 3,950 bikes, and 16,000 participants who continue to change so many lives around the world.
“Our six-year-old daughter Sydney won her battle against cancer after being diagnosed with Stage 3 Rhabdomyosarcoma in August 2012,” said Jaime Hassenbein, a resident of Lakeville Estates in Roslyn. “My husband Mitch and I were very open about it from the beginning and so the more people who learned of Sydney’s illness, the more support we were so fortunate to receive from the community.”
Sydney’s parents cycled with their Friends for a Cure team exceeded their fundraising goal for 2014 with a total of $73,095. Sydney, first-grader at Harbor Hill Elementary School, completed her last chemotherapy treatment this past July and continues with routine follow-ups at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Hospital every 3 months. The Hassenbeins told reporters that it’s such an inspirational day. “Sydney is thankfully doing great and has really proven to be our forever superstar — full of smiles, she’s by far the strongest and bravest little girl we know,” she said.
Team Kristen James raised $213,844 — the highest amount on Long Island for Cycle for Survival 2014.
“I couldn’t have reached this goal without the dedication and support of all my amazing friends who’ve made donations and spread the word to their friends and family,” said James, group fitness manager for Equinox Long Island whose been at Roslyn’s location for 11 years. “In 2012, my father David Bean (then 64) was diagnosed as having a glioblastoma brain tumor in the center of his brain. He was given six months to live.” He lost his battle later that year. “My father encouraged me to get into the fitness industry; he was athletic, and fit -–the healthiest guy,” explained James.
She led her first Cycle for Survival session 4 years ago not ever dreaming that she’d endure the pain of losing her own father to a rare cancer. “Cycle for Survival is an amazing charity,” she added.
Owner Leslie Cohen, of 33-year-old Roslyn women’s contemporary clothing shop Transitions, rode for her 3rd consecutive year in honor of her late father Neil Solomon, a former Marine Corps Vietnam Veteran who lost his battle to lung cancer just 2 years ago.
“The ride is part of my healing process, as if he’s right there with me trying to make a difference,” said Cohen. She followed in her father’s footsteps into the garment/fashion industry. “The camaraderie at Cycle for Survival is unbelievable,” she added. “It’s such an emotional day; I was proud that our team Love Life raised close to $17,000.00.”
About half of the more than 1.6 million people diagnosed with cancer in the past year face the challenge of fighting one of the rare cancers, which include pancreatic, thyroid, brain, ovarian, all pediatric cancers, and many more. Cycle for Survival was founded in 2007 by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center patient Jennifer Goodman Linn and her husband, Dave Linn. Jennifer, who was diagnosed with sarcoma in 2004, wanted to find a way to fight cancer and to help other patients by filling the gap in funding for rare cancer research. Jennifer passed away in 2011, but her indomitable spirit and extraordinary legacy live on through events like this.