If a sea of cyclists clad in orange dominated your Instagram feed yesterday, you're not alone. While the rest of the world was lamenting over a lost hour of sleep, certain celebrity do-gooders were sweating it out at Equinox locations across the country in the name of cancer research. Uma Thurman, Seth Meyers, and Neil Patrick Harris are just a few of the big names who showed up to the fitness club's Bryant Park branch in N.Y.C. for Cycle for Survival, an annual series of indoor cycling events dedicated to raising funds for research and clinical trials on rare forms of cancer led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
This year, over 27,000 riders in 15 cities participated in 50-minute spin classes, consisting of three hill stages set against a background of music ranging from classic rock to Top 40, with doctors, patients, and survivors running between rows of bikes, cheering, dancing, and, as importantly, taking photos and uploading them to social media. Many of the riders were supporting people they lost to cancer, and were encouraged to write a note expressing their connection to the disease, display it on a wall facing the bikes, and share it across their own channels.
I rode to support a close family friend of mine, Elizabeth Minter, who passed away in 2012 after a 17-month battle with gliomatosis cerebri, one of the rare brain tumors that Cycle for Survival has pledged to fight by donating 100 percent of all funds to rare cancer research. With over $26 million raised so far, the organization is likely to surpass its fundraising goal for 2016, thanks in no small part to the outpouring of support from the digital community, which helped spread the word in an unprecedented way. Evidently, pictures truly are worth a thousand words.
To donate or learn more, visit cycleforsurvival.org.