On Feb. 9, Capt. Fred Kingston of West Orange’s FMBA Local 28 and 228 will be leading a team of firefighters into the line of fire -- but this time it won’t involve a burning building. Instead, together they will be fighting rare cancers.
Kingston and his 11-person team will be participating in The Cycle for Survival, the national indoor team cycling event that funds research on rare cancers at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Donations to the West Orange FMBA Local 28 & 228 Team can be made on the Team's page.
“The men and women of the West Orange FMBA Local 28 and 228 will be cycling in hope of finding a cure for all cancers,” said Kingston, who also rode last year.
A 2007 Study by the University of Cincinnati showed firefighters have roughly double the rates of cancer than the general public, said Kingston, who himself has battled colon cancer, but has been cancer free for a year.
“Having seen the heartache this disease has brought to so many colleagues and their families, as well as to the citizens we serve, it is truly an honor to support such a great cause,” he said.
Cycle for Survival is the brainchild of co-founder Jennifer Goodman Linn, who grew up in Livingston and battled sarcoma, before succumbing to the disease in 2011.
In 2007, wanting to give back to others who were also suffering from rare cancers, Linn and her husband David co-founded Cycle for Survival to raise crucial funds for rare cancer research. Cycle became an official Memorial Sloan-Kettering (MSK) Cancer Center event in 2009.
The event has nearly doubled in size and fundraising totals each successive year, making it one of the fastest growing fundraising events in the world. Cycle's riders and donors make a tangible impact on rare cancer patients and their loved-ones, with 100% of funds raised going directly to MSK. This year more than 2,600 teams and 13,000 fellow cyclers worldwide will be participating in the fight.
In the past six years, Cycle for Survival has raised more than $23.5 million and directly funded 53 clinical trials and research studies. The event is hosted by Founding Partner Equinox gyms, at locations across the country, including Summit, which is where Kingston and his team will be riding. In 2013, more than $6 million has been raised overall.
According to The National Institutes of Health (NIH), a rare cancer is one with a prevalence of fewer than 200,000 affected individuals in the United States. However, hundreds of different cancers are classified as "rare," and more than 50% of people with cancer have a rare form of the disease. Rare cancers include brain, pancreatic, cervical, sarcoma, stomach, all types of pediatric cancers and many others — yet they often don't attract research dollars needed for new therapies and treatments.