Founded by two Westport natives, Delia Thompson and Amelie Babkie, SpinOdyssey has raised millions of dollars over the past 11 years to benefit American Cancer Society Breast Cancer researchers. This year's event, held at the Intensity Fitness and Tennis Club in Norwalk, raised more than $300,000.
One hundred percent of the proceeds is donated to scientists specifically targeting breast cancer research.
SpinOdyssey was sponsored this year by SHAPE magazine, who donated $25,000. There were several local sponsors as well including Bertucci's restaurant, which provided pizzas and hosted a VIP dinner for the top fundraisers, researchers, and VIP's; and Fairway Market, which provided food and beverages to all of the participants and volunteers. In August of this year, Fairway Market will be opening their first Connecticut based store in Stamford.
Westport's own Staples High School Football team volunteered to help set up and break down the bikes, which SpinOdyssey chair Patty Kondub said was a "huge help and very much appreciated.
"What used to takes us five hours to do takes the football team about an hour," she said. "It's a tremendous amount of work that goes into setting up over 200 spinning bikes and then breaking them down again. The football team comes in and makes it easy for us. They're great!"
Also volunteering at the event was the Staples Girls Golf team and the Cycling Club, whose members raised money and participated in the spinning.
Ranging in age from 13 to 70, hundreds of people from throughout Connecticut participated in one or more of the events and activities, choosing between Spinning, Tennis, Zumba, and Yoga. Spinners rode between one and six hours, and tennis, Zumba and yoga ran throughout the day.
The event raises money specifically to fund scientists doing breast cancer research. Gayle Alswanger, the Director of Distinguished Giving for the American Cancer Society, was deeply grateful for the funds raised today through SpinOdyssey.
"Each year there are over 17,000 scientists from around the country that apply for grants for their research," she said. "Only 15 percent of them get accepted and even fewer actually receive grants because of lack of funding. "
The funds raised today through SpinOdyssey will fund three years of breast cancer research for two grant winning scientists — Boris Wilson from the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston and Marc Mendillo from the Whitehead Institute at M.I.T. Both recipients where chosen from thousands of applicants by Dr. John Stevens, the Vice President of Research for the American Cancer Society. Without SpinOdyssey, these researchers would not be able to continue their mission — to find a cure for breast cancer.
For more information on SpinOdyssey visit the Web site at www.spinodyssey.org.
For more information on the American Cancer Society visit the Web site at www.cancer.org.