Cathy Tabak, left, and Marcy Goodman, second from left, join other “spinners” in a fund-raiser at the JCC for the WOLF Foundation, which Goodman and her husband, Paul, started. It was Tabak’s idea that the event benefit the leukemia research foundation.
June 19, 2008
In an all-day “spin-athon” on June 8, exercisers at the Jewish Community Center of Central New Jersey pedaled stationary bicycles with all their might to raise money for the WOLF (Wipe Out Leukemia Forever) Foundation.
The $3,000 gathered in sponsorships and donations will go to pediatric leukemia research at Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital of New York-Presbyterian Columbia University Medical Center.
JCC fitness program coordinator Debi Price said 30 people took part in the event, with most pedaling for an hour, and a few “advanced” spinners doing an hour and a half. It’s a great way to keep fit, she said, because “it’s cycling indoors so you don’t have to worry about the elements, you get a great cardiovascular workout, it’s challenging, and we have great music.” But, she cautioned, it has to be done right to avoid strain, with the seat at the right height and feet flat on the pedals.
Price said she plans to hold the annual exercise-bike marathons to support a different cause each year. This year’s recipient was chosen as an act of support for a member who has leukemia herself, and at the suggestion of JCC member Cathy Tabak, who sits on the board of the WOLF Foundation.
WOLF cofounder Marcy Goodman, who lives in Warren, was thrilled about the spin-athon. She said, “It’s great — I can’t believe they’re doing it.” She is close friends with Tabak and her husband, Steve.
According to the WOLF Web site, every year, one in 1,000 children under 19 are diagnosed with leukemia. But enormous progress has been made in treating the disease. In 1962 the survival rate was less than 5 percent; now it stands at around 80 percent.
The WOLF goal is to bring that figure up to 100 percent. Marcy and Paul Goodman and a group of their friends established the foundation in 2001, after the Goodmans’ five-year-old son was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Once his condition had stabilized, his parents looked for a way to help others facing the same trauma.
Since then, by means of five golf outings and a series of smaller fund-raisers — like the JCC spin-athon — they have raised over $1 million. The money has been used to start the pediatric leukemia research department at Children’s Hospital and to fund two projects through the national Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
In a letter of thanks to the foundation, Dr. Michael Weiner, professor of clinical pediatrics and director of the Herbert Irving Division of Child and Adolescent Oncology at Children’s Hospital, wrote that the laboratory established with the WOLF foundation funds produced “prodigious results in a relatively short period of time.”
He said work done by the lab’s director, Dr. Adolfo Ferrando, has led to a new treatment for leukemia — a gamma secretase inhibitor that keeps cancer cells from growing. A new protocol developed by the laboratory for treating recurrent ALL will undergo national clinical trials.
Weiner wrote, “This is truly an example of bench-to-bedside work whereby patients benefit directly from laboratory discovery.”
The Goodmans’ son is doing fine now. “This isn’t for him,” Marcy said. “It’s to help other kids, so that in the future children won’t have to suffer with this disease.”
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