FORTY FORT – More than 200 spinners pedaled together on Saturday to fight cancer at the 12th annual Spin 4 Life event, sponsored by the Center for Cancer Wellness, Candy’s Place.
Wendy Lindars, center assistant, said the sold-out event is expected to raise up to $6,000. The money will be used to continue providing help to area cancer patients and their families, in addition to supporting the Brandon J. Case Memorial Scholarship, dedicated to a King’s College student who lost his battle to leukemia in 1999 and who is the impetus behind the event.
The money will help make up for funds lost when the center canceled its largest fundraiser, the “Night at the Races,” Lindars said.
Having fun was the primary focus of the day, she said. “They are all on such a high … there are no lows today.”
Each of the 45-minute sessions – for which participants donated money – involved 20 cyclists, rowdy motivational music, hair and T-shirts wet with sweat and a good feeling of accomplishment, Lindars said. Guest instructors from health clubs all over Northeastern Pennsylvania volunteered to conduct the classes and keep participants motivated.
Representatives from the event’s largest sponsor, Sickler’s Bike and Sport Shop, rode to raise cash, she said. Other participants included students from King’s College and Penn State Wilkes-Barre, employees of Candy’s Place, teachers from an area elementary school and a variety of individuals.
Case’s stepfather, Paul Zbiek, who is one of the event’s founders, worked feverishly to meet his goal of cycling non-stop for 34 hours to commemorate what would be Case’s 34th birthday. Zbiek covered 621 miles on his tricked-up racing bike.
He was “feeling confident and feeling good” about his ride, he said. He expressed thanks for all of the participants and enjoyed seeing every spin class filled to capacity.
His wife, Donna Zbiek, echoed his emotions about the participants’ show of support. “It never stops being a joy,” she said. “It means so much to us.”
Debra Ganz and Melanie Bigus, board members from Candy’s Place and teachers at the State Street Elementary School in Larksville, brought a contingent of fellow teachers to ride.
Ganz had to “browbeat” some of them to get them there, she said. But as a regular spin cycler, she wanted them to experience the workout.
“Some of them might not talk to me on Monday,” she joked.