In memory of Gaby
Father and son kick off first ‘Cycle for Survival’ event for kids
by Al Sullivan
Reporter staff writer
Feb 09, 2014 | 5405 views | 0 0 comments | 26 26 recommendations | email to a friend | print
‘Cycle for Survival’
TEAM WORK – Father and son Jason and Ethan Sandlofer started their own cycling event in Jersey City that would allow kids to help raise money for cancer research
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Ethan Sandlofer can do anything he sets his mind to do.

So a year ago when just six years old, he asked his father if he could set up his own bicycle fundraiser to benefit research on a rare, but so-far incurable kind of cancer. His father Jason said, “Why not?”

As a result, Prep Elementary School in Jersey City will be the site of an indoor bicycle fundraiser to help find a cure for a rare form of cancer.

Ethan was two years old when his mother, Gaby, died as a result of cancer. A year ago, he and his father took part in their first money-raising event – sponsored by Equinox gyms, which provided the site as well as the resources with 100 percent of the proceeds going towards cancer research.

But last year, Ethan wanted to take the next step and actually get a on a bicycle and raise funds as a member of one of the teams. Because of insurance reasons, Equinox could not allow children to take part. So Ethan asked his father if they could set up their own event.

Jason could not say “No,” and found a way to make it happen.

Prep Elementary School in Jersey City will host the first Cycle for Survival event for kids.
“What can you say to a six-year-old who wants to start his own charity?” – Jason Sandlofer
Cycle for Survival ( is an organization that raises money for the research of rare cancers. They host indoor cycling events around the country and 100 percent of the funds raised go to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.

More than half of people diagnosed with cancer have a rare form of the disease.

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. Research on many rare cancers is drastically underfunded, leaving patients with limited treatment options. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, the nation’s preeminent center for cancer research and treatment, is committed to changing that – devoting its resources to patient care as well as to innovative research, making significant contributions to new and better therapies for the treatment of cancer, including some of the rarest forms of the disease.

Cycle for Survival directly funds these pioneering initiatives at Sloan-Kettering.

Organization is seven years old

Jennifer and David Linn co-founded Cycle for Survival in 2007 to raise crucial funds for rare cancer research. Cycle for Survival became an official Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center event in 2009. It has nearly doubled in size and fundraising totals rise each successive year, making it one of the fastest growing fundraising events in the world.

Cycle for Survival has raised more than $31 million to date, directly funding clinical trials and research studies at Sloan-Kettering. Equinox gym is the founding partner of Cycle for Survival and has helped the program grow from one site in New York City to rides in 13 cities across the country.

“My son is going to be seven on Feb. 27,” Jason said. “When he was six months old, his mother was diagnosed with a very rare, but almost always fatal form of cancer.”

Jason always wanted to do something in her memory, but said nothing seemed to fit. Then someone told him about this bicycle program to raise funds for research into rare forms of cancer. This was an indoor bicycle riding event in which the not for profit teams up with Equinox gyms, which supplies the space so that 100 percent of the money raised goes towards research.

“We did it with Equinox last year, and when it was over, Ethan – who was six, then – asked if he could have his own team this year,” Jason said. “Unfortunately, he couldn’t do it at the Equinox gym. Because of liability issues, kids can’t do it there. Ethan was a little discouraged. But he doesn’t take no for an answer and asked why we couldn’t do our own? I didn’t know what to say. What can you say to a six-year-old who wants to start his own charity?”

So Jason talked to a principal at Ethan’s school.

“She said she would let us use the school for a day,” he said.

Jason went out and purchased 30 spin bicycles, hoping to draw as many kids as possible, and as word spread about the event people started signing up.

“We’re hoping to get more to come,” he said.

Although unable to supply the space for the event, Equinox also joined in to help, providing a number of their trainers and others to help make the event a success.

Details on local event

The event will be held on Saturday, Feb. 22, from noon to 3 p.m. at Primary Prep Elementary School, 41 Tuers Ave. in Jersey City.

Kids must be five to 14 years old and at least 48 inches in height. Activities will include a DJ, Spin Instructor and fun activities for the family.

“We have a fund raising goal of $50,000 and we have already passed the $30,000 mark,” Jason said.

Over 60 kids are already registered to participate. For more information about Ethan’s story and the charity please visit

Kids who want to join Ethan’s team can go to, go the tab for teams and search out E’s Biker Buddies. Anyone can donate money to the even through the site as well, Jason said. The code word for the site is Ethan222

Over 60 kids are already registered to participate. For more information about Ethan’s story and the charity please visit

Father and son both live with the memory of Gaby, although Ethan doesn’t have as distinct a memory as Jason does.

“But he had a connection with his mother,” Jason said. “She loved him more than life.”

Al Sullivan may be reached at

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