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Spin Classes At Plex To Raise Money For Rare Cancer Research

Heights Editor

Published: Thursday, January 31, 2013

Updated: Thursday, January 31, 2013 02:01

After Meghan Wilda, CSON ’13, learned that her friend and fellow Boston College senior Christen Heye, CSON ’13, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma over winter break, Wilda paired up with seniors Alyssa Rose and Julianne Wojno, A&S ’13, to create a team to ride in the upcoming Cycle for Survival event.

Cycle for Survival is an annual, nation-wide event, founded in 2007 by Jennifer and David Linn to raise money for rare-cancer research. The event linked with the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKC) two years later, and now 100 percent of the more than $23 million raised in the spin-a-thons goes directly to MSKC.

Wojno, a spin instructor at the Plex, decided to hold spin classes this Saturday at the Flynn Recreational Complex to raise money for Cycle For Survival. Although not all BC students may be able to participate in the national event at the Equinox Gym in Boston, students can help fundraise by attending one of the classes offered at the Plex.

Signups for the three classes—at 1, 2:30, and 4 p.m.—will take place at 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 2 at the Plex. Each 50-minute class will cost $10.

Even though the event is held nationally, the event has a direct impact on the BC community. “Whenever I teach a spin class, in the beginning I ask people to dedicate their rides and things like that, and try to make it more than just us,” Wojno said.

“She’s from Seattle, she’s getting treated in Seattle, so there’s nothing I can do for her from here,” Wilda said of Heye. “But I love doing this because it’s reminding her that people here love her, and are thinking about her, and want to do something for her.”
“They’ll definitely have a focus on dedicating these rides to people that we know that have survived, that are battling currently, or that have passed, and to specially dedicate these rides to them,” Wojno said.

By National Institute of Health (NIH) standards, a “rare cancer” is one with fewer than 200,000 people in the United States affected by it. According to Cycle for Survival, half of all diagnosed cancers are considered rare, with pediatric cancers falling into this group. Because of this, Meghan and the other team members feel as though their money is benefitting Heye, and other members of the BC community, directly.

“There’s actually another senior here who’s been diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma and he’s being treated at Sloan Kettering, which is where all the money is going towards,” Wojno said. “So it very much happened to hit very close to home.”
A student at the nursing school, Heye has had the experience of working in an oncology unit, but is also familiar with the patient’s side through battling her own disease. “I know that the science and research behind this therapy is made possible by funds including those raised during ‘Cycle for Survival,’” Heye said.

This year’s Cycle for Survival will take place over five days, in 10 cities, with 13,000 participants so far. On Feb.10, the Boston chapter of the event will be held at Equinox Gym on Franklin Street.

At Equinox, teams will take place in four-hour relay rides, splitting the time between their members. The fundraiser at BC came about as a way to raise the $1,000 bike-minimum required to participate.

Individuals can donate directly to the BC team by visiting the Cycle for Survival website and looking up the team name “The Spinning Eagles,” under team captain Julianne Wojno.

“It’s events like this that mean the world to me because, although the money raised now may not directly benefit my cancer treatment, it could help find a cure for those who are diagnosed in the future—a cure that this world so badly needs,” Heye said.

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