There are those who come in this world and light a candle that still burns.
Jennifer Goodman Linn went much further. In her way too short life, she lit thousands of candles, and many still burn to this day.
Goodman Linn was just 33 years old when she contracted sarcoma, a rare cancer of the connective tissues. The diagnosis, which came out of nowhere, stunned her and her family.
Through 12 sets of chemotherapy treatments, six surgeries and numerous “recoveries,” Goodman Linn not only fought the disease but persevered. With her strength, her determination, and her fight to survive, combined with her always infectious personality, she took her grim diagnosis and saw to it to make her personal journey a public one.
Goodman Linn and her husband David wanted to raise awareness of rare cancers and to provide fundraising opportunities to help those affected by these uncommon diseases. With the help of Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, where she was being treated, and Equinox, she started an event called Cycle for Survival.
The first event, held in 2007, had about 50 teams participating and was considered a solid success, raising over $250,000. This year, 15 years later, more than 1,000 teams and thousands of participants are expected to participate in the event, which will be held throughout April and May in many major U.S. cities.
Cycle For Survival has become one of the largest cancer fundraising events in the country, raising over $300 million since its inception.
Our very own Daley Plaza will be the host to this year's Chicago event, scheduled for Friday, May 13, and Saturday, May 14. Stationary spin bikes will be placed all over the Daley Plaza and teams of four to eight people will take turns riding for a four-hour period without stop, all with the goal of pledging to raise money for this worthy cause.
There will be a Friday evening session, a Saturday morning session and a Saturday afternoon session. No training is required, and teams and individuals can still sign up, although there are currently only limited spots still available for this year's event. For more information, visit cycleforsurvival.org.
Jennifer Goodman Linn passed away in 2011, too young, at age 40. While her seven-year battle with cancer is over, her dream, her inspiration and her goal of rare cancer awareness still live on today, stronger than ever.
Cycle for Survival continues to honor the memory of a truly special young lady.