Cycle for Survival Returns to Livingston Roots and In-Person Rides

Cycle for Survival, an organization dedicated to raising money for rare cancer research, will return to its late founder's hometown this May.

Cycle for Survival brings people together on stationary bikes in order to raise money for rare cancer research. Photo by Anne Ryan/Cycle for Survival

Dave Linn wasn’t sure if he wanted to remain involved with Cycle for Survival after his wife, Jennifer Goodman Linn, died in 2011.

The couple started the nonprofit, then called Spin4Survival, in 2007 after Jennifer was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare cancer. A Memorial Sloan Kettering patient and Equinox member, Jennifer had a simple idea: The organization would raise money for rare cancer research via team cycling events on stationary bikes.

Cycle for Survival blossomed into a nationwide community in the years that followed. Dave, however, struggled with the idea of sticking with the organization to which his wife gave the final years of her life. He knew it would be painful, but he decided to stay active. He would reevaluate things after a year.

“I didn’t know if it would be too hard,” he tells New Jersey Monthly. “That first year, it was tough for me at times, but what I found was the benefit that I got personally from staying involved, staying connected, [and] doing everything that I could to help fulfill Jen’s vision to help develop better treatment options for cancer patients, even if it was too late for her. The positive impact for me far outweighed the challenge emotionally. Because of that, I’ve stayed involved ever since.”

Fast forward to 2022, and Dave is still riding strong with Cycle for Survival, which has raised over $293 million for rare cancer research. One-hundred percent of the money goes to research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which owns and operates Cycle for Survival. Equinox, meanwhile, is a founding partner.

Cycle for Survival is celebrating 16 years of biking in 2022 with events in 15 locations throughout the United States in April and May. May destinations include Miami, Boston, Los Angeles, New York and Washington, D.C. However, one particular location on the schedule stands out: Jennifer’s New Jersey hometown of Livingston, located in Essex County.

The May 14 event, located at the Mervyn V.T. Haines Community Pool parking lot, will be the first in Livingston since Jennifer passed away at the age of 40. Many of her former classmates at Livingston High School, as well as her parents and other family members, are expected to attend.

“When Jen was diagnosed, we were really surprised and shocked at how few treatment options there were for these rare cancers. Fast forward to today, and if she were diagnosed, there’s still a long way to go, but the way she would be treated would be completely different than just a short number of years ago,” Dave says. “I attribute that in large part to the support from the local community in Livingston. Cycle for Survival would have never grown to what it is today without that initial support.”

Dave likely won’t be able to attend the Livingston event—there’s a ride in Chicago, where he grew up, the same day—but he’s expecting a crowd of about 1,000 people. He hopes that even more people sign up between now and then.

He’s thrilled that Cycle for Survival is returning to its roots, and to a full slate of in-person events. The organization had to be primarily virtual in 2021 due to the pandemic, though it did host a two-day, socially distanced, outdoor ride at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford last May.

This year, all participants who ride in-person must be fully vaccinated and show proof on-site. Cycle for Survival is also set to host a virtual event, open to anyone anywhere in the world, on April 30.

No matter where or how one rides, Dave is “pumped” for everyone to get back on a bike.

“One of the absolute best things any of us can do in our lives is dedicate time to helping others,” he says. “Not only do you make an impact and do some good, but it actually gives you a sense of joy and accomplishment.”

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