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Lisa Elling

Team Name:  Team Rockstar - Bethesda
Years Participated: Fifth Year

Location:   Bethesda, MD:

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This year roughly 1.8 million people will be diagnosed with cancer and 50% of those are RARE! You would be shocked by what is considered rare – all pediatric cancers, leukemia, lymphoma, brain, stomach, thyroid, ovarian, and pancreatic cancers, among many others. The people fighting rare cancers face limited, if any, treatment options.

This is my FIFTH year participating in Cycle for Survival, a national indoor team cycling event that funds rare cancer research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. Participants and donors fund innovative research to discover new and better treatment options that will help people around the world. 100% of the funds donated for my ride will go directly to research. This event started in 2007 and since its inception, has raised over $180 MILLION and funded over 100 clinical trials. My team, Team Rockstar, personally has raised well over $1.4 MILLION.


“Mom…what’s cancer?” This question has been posed by my son, Spencer, for the past couple of years, but this year a huge weight landed on my chest when he asked me a follow up. “Will we get cancer?” Empty promises ran through my brain as my brilliant, perceptive 7-year-old wanted real answers. I pictured all the horrible situations that could happen and knew lying could one day backfire. “Spencer, Cancer is a disease that attacks your body in different ways and can make you very sick. I can’t promise you that we won’t get cancer, but I can promise that we will do everything we can to prevent it. You just keep being your healthy, smart, amazing self and leave the tough subjects to mom and dad. Keep cheering at Cycle for Survival and keep raising money for people with cancer so we can save their lives!”

Usually you hear me say I started riding for my 2 grandmothers I lost to cancer or my aunt Jody that had battled rare cancer and complications since 2015. I could write a novel just on her story alone. This year her brother (my uncle) was diagnosed with prostate cancer while she was finally getting to celebrate a milestone of not having a seizure for 6 months! This is HUGE, it had been 3 years! She can finally drive again if she wants to. I am not minimizing my Uncle Ronnie, he is a fighter and his cancer was caught early; he is going through treatment now and we think he will make a full recovery.

I also know someone that just finished radiation for throat cancer and have two more friends about my age that just finished cancer treatments. All are doing okay right now. There is always a story, whether it’s family, a friend or acquaintance, cancer lurks in the shadows. It is our duty to help fund research and to teach our children to help save lives by donating to Cycle for Survival. This year I am riding for success! After 5 years, I have seen positive results from money you have helped me raise year in and year out.

Some years I think I might be too busy to ride or raise enough money, but every year I decide that WE make such a difference. OUR money saved someone! As my kids get older, they always how many days until Cycle for Survival and they look forward to it. They know that last year they raised money for sick children and all kids know they don’t like being sick. Please visit to see what the 2018 donations funded.

It’s hard to put into an email the feeling it gives me to be a part of this ride every year and what it does for people, so I thought I would include this video to help give you an idea:

Please donate today to support my ride against cancer, the smallest amount helps.

Thank you!



The Cycle for Survival Web page and e-mail are provided as a courtesy to participants to help them manage fundraising efforts for this event. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center or any of its affiliated organizations, or their officers, directors, agents, or employees do not control, nor are they responsible for, the contents of this Web page. Any views or information provided on this Web page are the sole responsibility of the participant.

The participant's Web page may provide links to other Web sites and does not imply an endorsement by MSKCC, its affiliated organizations, their officers, directors, agents, and employees of the materials contained at those Web sites.