Including donations from more than 1 million individuals across all 50 states, 13-year-old Cycle for Survival has raised more than $250 million to date to fight rare malignancies such as ovarian cancer.
The amount exceeds a major fundraising milestone. All proceeds from the annual high-energy event go toward research led by the Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center, the event’s owner and operator.
Events began in January and continued through early this month in 17 cities nationwide. Participants were led by cycling instructors from Equinox, Cycle for Survival’s founding partner, which recently contributed a $500,000 matching donation to help lift the event over the $250 million mark.
Last year’s efforts produced $42 million. Notably, more than half the $250 million raised since 2007 was generated in the past three years.
“This milestone reflects the determination and generosity of a passionate community uniting to fight rare cancers,” a Cycle for Survival press release stated.
To celebrate the milestone, as well as Cycle for Survival’s 11th year in Chicago, the skyscraper Willis Tower recently lit its famous antenna orange.
The stationary cycling event began as just one ride in New York City — 230 people on 50 bikes. Now the event includes more than 37,000 participants, 9,000 bikes, and 250,000 donors annually. To date, there have been more than 1,100 corporate teams representing 610 companies.
“The $250 million raised by Cycle for Survival has allowed hundreds of MSK physicians, scientists and research teams to pursue bold ideas to change the way cancer is diagnosed and treated,” the announcement stated. “Their investigations have made a direct impact on patient care, including FDA-approved drugs and effective experimental therapies. Cycle for Survival donations often provide vital seed funding for new research endeavors.”
All funds raised go directly to scientific investigations and clinical trials for rare cancers, which comprise roughly half of all cancers and includes ovarian cancer, with which 21,750 women are expected to be diagnosed this year. A woman’s risk of developing ovarian cancer during her lifetime is about one in 78.
Cycle for Survival funds have led to studies in small cell carcinoma of the ovary, an aggressive form of rare cancer with limited therapies available, and for recurrent and low-grade serous ovarian cancer. It also has led to study of a new chemotherapy delivery method — heated chemo injected into the abdomen at the time of surgery — in highly recurrent ovarian cancers.
Cycle for Survival teams pledge to raise a minimum of $1,000 per indoor bike. Teams can register multiple bikes, with up to eight riders each. Participants can take turns during a four-hour indoor cycling shift, divided into four consecutive 50-minute sessions. Each team captain sets the ride schedule. “Extreme” riders have their own bike for four hours, and pledge to raise at least $4,000.
Go here for more information about the research funded by Cycle for Survival.