Each pedaling for someone special, more than 200 indoor cycle enthusiasts rode for a continuous six hours at Midtown Athletic Club at Windy Hill on April 24 to raise $158,000 for the Atlanta-based charity Ovarian Cycle.
“The energy on the gymnasium floor was over-the-top,” says Ellen Fruchtman, an Ovarian Cycle spokesperson who rode in memory of friend Debbie Flamm, who succumbed to the disease at age 43. An empty bicycle in the front row, adorned with teal balloons—the official color of ovarian cancer—served as both an inspiration and reminder of those who couldn’t ride.
“The participation and enthusiasm in this event was unbelievable,” says Andy Deyo, Midtown General Manager, who temporarily closed the club’s gymnasium and racquet ball court area to provide space for riders and silent auction items. “We continue to be proud to offer Midtown’s resources for this noble and charitable cause.”
Flamm’s passing in 2003 inspired another close friend, Bethany Diamond, to create the charity. Diamond, a Midtown fitness instructor and staunch believer in exercise as a way to reduce cancer risks, sought to honor Flamm by organizing an annual, indoor cycling fundraiser.
Diamond personally led the group for the final hour—the “Hero’s Hour,” she calls it—where the former Ironman competitor read from a list of the names of women who had died from ovarian cancer. With ovarian cancer survivors gathered in the front, everyone in the room clasped hands in a massive chain, and sang the Queen anthem “We Are the Champions.”
“It was a pretty powerful moment,” she says.
Last month, a similar Ovarian Cycle event in Birmingham attracted 76 riders, raising $58,000. More rides are planned this year in Tallahassee, Fla., and Boulder, Colo. In its seventh year, the charity has raised more than $800,000 for research and better detection methods. Donations go to the Ovarian Cancer Research Foundation in New York City, Ovarian Cancer Institute at Georgia Tech, and the Norman Livingston Ovarian Cancer Foundation.
To learn more about ovarian cancer, visit www.ovariancycle.org