Every day, as Alec and Jamie head out, I say “Have fun, stay safe,” It’s been my mantra hoping it keeps them safe as they enjoy their ride, the beautiful scenery, and stay safe! Their rides have been amazing as they traveled on old rail trails during the first month in Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and Maryland. Later in Missouri, they continued on the Katy trail which was sheltered and safe. One day though, they did have a lot of rain and they both emerged completely covered in mud, hardly able to move. The surface of the trail is limestone and
As you can imagine, it is not always easy. Some days I wake up and really miss Julian. It’s such a strong feeling as though my heart was being squeezed. Tears flow all the time and while I try to shake it off it’s like a faucet that can’t be turned off. Today was one of those days. I just wanted to have a good cry without worrying anyone about my mental health. As I drove from West Yellowstone to Ennis I passed the Hebgen Lake and an area where the land had shifted downward as much as 20 feet
The railroads have been a constant theme throughout our journey. Alec and Jamie practically started their ride on the Chesapeake and Ohio canal rail-trail across Pennsylvania and when we arrived in Pittsburg it seemed to be the hub of the transcontinental railroad. We even found our hotel in Pittsburg sat between two busy tracks that held trains constantly moving in opposite directions. Gina and I discovered the length of some of these trains as we waited for over 20 minutes at one particular railroad crossing in Cumberland, Maryland. Trains have moved parallel or intersected my drive through so many states,
Alec Fraser and Jamie Meehan, supported by Cristy Fraser, Gina Modica and the entirety of TeamJF, are cycling from Connecticut to California in honor of Julian Fraser, Cristy and Alec’s son. Beginning on August 15th, Alec and Jamie will ride an average of 68 miles per day for 68 days, cycling a total of 4,650 miles and climbing 119,000 feet in overall elevation. This Coast-to-Coast Cycle to Cure Childhood Cancer aims to raise awareness and funds for rare cancer research with donations going to Cycle for Survival, the national movement to beat rare cancers. The Team Julian ride will come to a close at the Julian Fraser Memorial Water Polo Tournament at Santa Clara University on October 19th.
Cycle for Survival is the national movement to beat rare cancers where 100 percent of every donation funds rare cancer research. About half of all cancer patients are fighting a rare cancer, and they often face limited or no treatment options. Rare cancers include brain, pancreatic, ovarian, stomach, all types of pediatric cancers, and many others. Since 2007, Cycle for Survival has raised more than $221 million through its signature indoor team cycling events across the U.S. to help fund pioneering rare cancer research led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, which owns and operates Cycle for Survival. Together with the movement’s founding partner, Equinox, Cycle for Survival has supported innovative clinical trials, research studies, and major research initiatives.
Below are just a few of the ways in which Cycle for Survival has funded research to combat rare cancers:
Next Generation Tumor Sequencing
Cycle for Survival funding has been crucial to the development and clinical use of MSK-IMPACT™. This powerful diagnostic tool was approved by the FDA in 2017 and analyzes tumors for 505 genes known to play a critical role in both rare and common cancers, helping doctors match patients to the treatments and clinical trials that will most effectively target their disease. Memorial Sloan Kettering is on a mission to sequence all people with cancer who could benefit from precision medicine by offering free genomic tumor testing via MSK-IMPACT™ to patients with select rare cancers, including pediatric cancers. Funding from Cycle for Survival is helping make this possible through the Make-an-IMPACT initiative.
Increasing Life Expectancy for People with Melanoma
In 2000, when Dr. Jedd Wolchok started at Memorial Sloan Kettering, the average life expectancy for people with metastatic melanoma was seven months. Now, thanks to research and clinical trials supported by Cycle for Survival, median life expectancy has increased to over five years — and counting.
Pioneering Cancer Drugs
In 2018, the FDA approved larotrectinib to treat cancers caused by a specific genetic mutation called a TRK fusion. This was the first time a drug received an initial approval based on a mutation type rather than where in the body a tumor originates. Memorial Sloan Kettering led its development, and Cycle for Survival funds supported the research.
A World-Renowned Sarcoma Program
The Sarcoma Medical Oncology Service, led by Dr. William Tap, works to improve outcomes for people facing this challenging disease. Cycle for Survival has helped build the world’s largest immunotherapy program dedicated to sarcoma, rapidly growing an arsenal of options to combat these 100-plus types of the disease. This includes more than 31 clinical trials to test novel strategies, as well as studies of ways to manipulate how drugs work and predict if a therapy will be effective for a patient before it’s even prescribed. Cycle for Survival’s backing has cemented Memorial Sloan Kettering’s reputation as a leader in sarcoma research.
Pediatric Cancer Patients
All pediatric cancers are considered rare cancers, and research is extremely underfunded. That’s why Cycle for Survival is proud to fuel pediatric cancer research led by MSK Kids — where more children, teens, and young adults with cancer are treated than any other hospital in the United States. MSK Kids is home to a specialized precision oncology program singularly focused on childhood cancers, promising to deliver targeted therapies that come with fewer side effects to kids with cancer.
Leading the Field in Immunotherapy
As pioneers in immunotherapy, Memorial Sloan Kettering doctors and researchers have made countless discoveries that continue to change the way cancer is treated. Memorial Sloan Kettering investigators uncovered a connection that holds true across all cancers: The more DNA mutations a person’s tumor has (known as the tumor mutational burden), the more likely the cancer is to respond to the immunotherapy drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors. They also reported on a possible way to quantify how efficient the immune system is at detecting cancer.
Translating Brain Cancer Research Breakthroughs Directly to Treatments
Memorial Sloan Kettering’s Neuro-Oncology Research Translation in Humans Program aims to accelerate brain cancer research and the next generation of treatments for both adult and pediatric brain tumors. Cycle for Survival’s support plays a central role in the program’s ability to bring emerging concepts and scientific discoveries from the laboratory to the people who need them. Dr. Ingo Mellinghoff is leading a series of projects — from studying potential biomarkers that could predict tumor recurrence earlier than ever before to matching tumor DNA found in a patient’s cerebrospinal fluid using a tumor’s genetic profile — with each one delivering insights into how to better determine treatment decisions in the future.