Cycle for Survival

This week’s blog post comes to you from Guest Writer, Emma, a student staff member in Fitness and Wellness at University Recreation. Emma has been touched by the positive message and powerful influence that Cycle for Survival has had for many, and has worked to organize this years event, as well as spread the word and encourage others to join the battle, and fight rare, life threatening cancers. This is her story.

February 15, 2014

Music pumps loudly as I walk into a room full of stationary bikes. There is crowd of gym members in the room that are ready to ride. They provided a sense of teamwork and cohesion.

I set up my bike and mingle with friends as I admire the cool new t-shirt I just received.

After a few introductions, a professor from NC State describes her personal battle with breast cancer, which includes examples of the emotional and physical toll that the battle took on her.

Then, we get on our bikes and begin the day’s ride. We ride hard for 75 minutes; conquering uphill climbs on our bikes. Sweat rolls down my face, but I manage to push harder.

The instructor encourages us to keep fighting even as we fatigue. Pictures of survivors and those who lost their life to cancer are displayed across the screen and they remind me that I can conquer this battle on my bike today.

We battle difficult inclines all day, mimicking the challenge many cancer patients face each day.

I look to my left and right and see members of the Raleigh and NC State community giving their all. They aren’t giving up and I won’t either… We encourage each other along the way and celebrate as we conquer our climbs. We push to the end of the ride and resist the temptation to give up and slow down. Each participant fights their own battle as they are reminded of the harsh battle that many cancer patients have to battle.

We reach the end of the ride I am overwhelmed with joy, hope and victory. We get off our bikes to eat sandwiches and fruit, groups gather together to talk about the ride, share stories of battles ending in both victory and defeat. As participants trickle out, some stop to donate a few more dollars.

We are humbled and excited by the cause, which we are gathered for. I’m overcome by the sense of community born from a mere morning spent riding together as feelings of hope and empowerment circulate through the air. Today, we joined the battle.”

On Feb. 15, 2014 University Recreation partnered with Cycle For Survival to put on this spin class. Cycle for Survival is an organization based in New York. Jen who had pleomorphic (MFH) sarcoma founded the organization. Jen used her diagnosis as an opportunity to inspire others to join her fight.


In 2007, Jen and her husband created Cycle for Survival to raise awareness, funds and hope for those with rare cancer. All of the money that is raised is donated to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which is the leading center for rare cancer research.

Half of all cancers are considered rare cancer including stomach, pediatric, brain, ovarian and more. While we might not know Jen herself, but there are Jens in all of our lives; parents, sisters, brothers, friends, grandparents, cousins, co-workers, daughters, uncles, and neighbors.

The reality of cancer hit me hard when a parent of my friend passed away from cancer two years ago. Each drop of sweat that rolled off of my face was in his memory, and hope for their family.

The fight against cancer was paralleled on the bike at Cycle for Survival. Even though I won the battle on the bike that day, there are victories yet to be won. We can’t stop fighting until each cancer patient can declare his or her own victory.

One of the worst parts about being a bystander to a friend or family member with cancer is the feeling of helplessness. You and I don’t have the cure. Cycle for Survival is a tangible way to begin to make a difference. We can fight to inspire, to raise money and to educate our community about rare cancer.

Wolfpack family, with Cycle for Survival we can empower one another. We can fight for those we love. I want to personally invite you to join me at this incredible event.

Join me in learning about the scope and impact of rare cancers. Join me in donating to this worthy cause. Join me in a day full of laughter and inspiration. Join me in making a difference. Join me in finding hope. Join the battle.


NC State’s Cycle for Survival is on Saturday, Jan. 31 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Studio B/C at the Carmichael Recreation Center. Registration is free, but please consider making a donation to help Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center continue to champion the fight against rare cancers.

Register or Donate Here
Team: NC State
Password: UREC