CHAPPAQUA, N.Y. – Chari Hirshson will ride a stationary bike with 10 other Chappaqua moms for four hours Sunday to raise money and awareness for rare forms of cancer, like the one that took the life of her father when she was just 18 years old.
This year’s Cycle for Survival takes place during eight days in 13 cities with 16,000 participants riding 3,950 bikes at Equinox gyms across the country. The event has raised $49.5 million since 2007 to battle rare cancers.
In her first year, Chari’s team, the Chappy Gals, have raised more than $23,000, just shy of their $25,000 goal.
“Unfortunately it’s a common thread, so many of the moms who are involved lost a parent, lost an aunt, lost an uncle. It just hits home,” Chari’s husband, Scott, said.
Chari decided to participate this year because of something her five-year-old daughter said during a recital, in which the children were asked to say what they wished for.
“My daughter wished for a grandpa,” Scott said. “Everybody was silent and my wife cried. Between the two of us we have one parent and we both lost them very young.”
Scott’s mother, Janet, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and his father, Stanley, was diagnosed with gall bladder cancer. He died just one week after being diagnosed.
“The day I brought my mother home from a stem cell transplant was the day I brought my father to the hospital and he was gone seven days later,” Scott said.
His mother died one year after his father’s death.
“My mother was the only representing parent at our 2006 wedding,” Chari wrote on her team’s page on the Cycle for Survival website. “I'm telling our horror story because I want to make a difference. I want to live in a world where my daughter doesn't have to wish for important people to be alive in her world--they just are. I'm hoping to raise awareness, raise money and raise hope.”
All of the proceeds from the Cycle for Survival go directly to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which treats 400 subtypes of cancers. The donations are allocated within six months of each event and go to the most promising research and clinical trials, and have led to better treatments for cancer patients worldwide, according to the event website.
To help the Chappy Gals reach their goal, donate here.