Together, let's #finishthisfight
If you live in Washington, D.C., you are more than familiar with the hashtag #stayinthefight. Our World Series-winning Washington Nationals lived the fairytale last year, coming from a dismal record 19-31 and less than a one percent chance of winning it all, to pulling off too many come-from-behinds to count to be the last team standing. Sports Illustrated even called the dream season, “nothing short of a miracle."
You see, miracles ARE possible. And, they’re possible because of YOU.
If you know me you know that Cycle for Survival is the movement to beat rare cancers. At the heart of it are more than 35 indoor team cycling events that take part in 17 cities around the country. TEAM ROCKSTAR hits the bikes for the ninth straight year Sunday, Feb. 23rd in Bethesda.
When I started this team nine years ago, I had the hope of raising $10,000 for rare cancer research. It was just three years ago that our team passed the million-dollar mark but today, our team is only $50,000 shy from being the sixth team (out of thousands!) to reach $2 MILLION dollars raised in event history. And we did it Davey Martinez style — by going 1-0 every day — brick by brick, $25 donation by $25 donation, $50 check by $50 check. No corporate hand-outs — just a bunch of people who care, convincing other people to care. But to #finishthefight, we need your help.
You can donate to my page here. (And if you want to ride, message me!)
Although it’d be easy to rest on the laurels of eight years of success, sometimes another year simply means more to fight for. This year, I ride to honor the beautiful life of Deb Gehrke, our beloved Cape Cod neighbor who beat cancer back for six years before losing her battle on Christmas Day; for Linc’s 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Anderson, who not two weeks back from maternity leave this past October received a breast cancer diagnosis; and for Maddie, the daughter of my college friend who celebrated her 16th birthday last week in a Boston hospital getting treated for leukemia. I want miracles for them and for everyone battling a rare cancer.
Because I need to include some fine print, here are a few things that make this movement so special.
1 – First, MSK. Memorial Sloan-Kettering is the nation’s preeminent center for research and treatment devoted exclusively to cancer. Physicians, scientists and researchers work together to discover new ways to prevent, control and ultimately defeat cancer. Its legacy is unparalleled, having produced more FDA-approved drugs for the treatment of cancer than any other single academic institution.
2 – A focus on rare cancers. More than 50 percent of those fighting cancer are fighting a rare cancer like brain, pancreatic, ovarian, stomach, pediatric cancers and many others – yet they often don’t attract the research dollars needed for new therapies and treatments. Cycle for Survival has changed that.
3 – The 100 percent rule. Cycle for Survival allocates every dollar of funds raised to research — not a penny less. That means your money — ALL of it — goes to do good.
4 – It’s turn-key. Not only is there zero overhead, but your donation is guaranteed to be put to work within six months of the close of fundraising April 1st, meaning that doctors and researchers can quickly advance vital research where little to no funding existed – and help patients around the world.
We hear from doctors time and time again that without Cycle for Survival dollars, these advances would simply not be possible. There’s no doubt the true impact reaches far and wide, but here is just a snapshot of what you’ve helped fund:
DNA Sequencing: In 2018, the FDA approved (la-ro-trec-ti-nib) Larotrectinib, a revolutionary new cancer treatment designed to outsmart specific genetic mutations, regardless of cancer type. MSK led the studies, and Cycle for Survival funded the research. This groundbreaking targeted therapy is the first to be developed and approved based solely on its effect on a specific genetic change in a tumor, regardless of where in the body the tumor originated. Now, it is creating hope for patients across the world. (See the NBC news report here.)
Liquid Biopsy: This simple blood test allows doctors to analyze tumors without the need for invasive surgery. This new technology holds potential as a powerful tool for early detection and monitoring treatment effectiveness and hopes to be a powerful diagnostic tool for people at risk of their cancer relapsing.
Immunotherapy: This treatment harnesses the body’s immune system to fight back against cancer, and MSK is a global leader in advancing this science. In fact, The largest sarcoma immunotherapy program was developed with Cycle for Survival funds and, today, at least 10 clinical immunotherapy trials are underway with many more in the planning stages.
And, finally, Clinical trials – MSK’s more than 120 research labs run one of the largest clinical trial programs in the world, leading more than 1,000 clinical trials. Donations to Cycle for Survival are critical to launching and sustaining these efforts.
Our amazing community of real-life ROCKSTARS has included 245 different individual riders since 2012, with more than 70 riding this year alone, . I know I speak for every one of our riders and alumni when I say THANK YOU – thank you SO MUCH for your support. (If you want to ride this year, it’s not too late — we still have a few spots on our team, so please message me!)
Since 2007, this movement has raised more than $230 million dollars for rare cancer — $200 million of that raised in the last five years alone. With 37,500 participants and 250,000 donors expected to partake in 2020, it continues to be one of the fastest-growing and most successful athletic fundraising events in the country.
I leave you with a beautiful quote from Georgia Congressman John Lewis who announced he had pancreatic cancer on December 29th.
“What I try to tell young people is that if you come together with a mission, and it’s grounded with love and a sense of community, you can make the impossible possible.”
The Nats believed in miracles, and we do, too. Help us #finishthisfight. The link to donate is here.