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Miracle Makers: Cycle for Hope

Outstanding Commitment by a Community Group

Inspired by his nephew Colin Gott’s courageous battle with undifferentiated sarcoma, a rare cancer that begins in the body’s connective tissues, Andy Nye, Penfield Sports and Fitness manager, knew he wanted to give back to UR Medicine’s Golisano Children’s Hospital. Colin was diagnosed in 1998 and passed away in 1999, just two days shy of his third birthday. Andy was motivated by the care his sister and her family received at the children’s hospital and wanted to create awareness and start fundraising. He joined forces with event co-founder Craig Hurlbut and came up with “Cycle for Hope,” in hope of making a difference. With a suggested donation of $20 per hour of participating, the six-hour spinning event raised $2,500 in its first year.

Volunteers Tracey and JulieThis year marked a decade of Cycle for Hope, an event that Andy and his planning committee, along with other Rochester-area fitness facilities, puts on in support of two causes – Golisano Children’s Hospital and Camp Good Days and Special Times, Inc. In its ten years the event has raised more than $200,000 for the region’s only children’s hospital.

Cycle for Hope’s dedicated committee and its chairs, including Sue Powers, have helped the event expand and become more of a success throughout its years, raising more than $23,000 on its tenth anniversary.  

Sue, an avid children’s hospital supporter, has volunteered at the event for the past nine years, while serving as a committee chair for eight years. Sue was inspired by her niece, Tayler Bayer, who, 20 years ago, was born with Down Syndrome and, at 6 weeks of age, spent a few weeks in Golisano Children’s Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) following her open-heart surgery. Sue has played an instrumental role in networking with other Rochester-area fitness clubs to increase participation across the board, not only with cyclers, but instructors alike, really driving the direction of the event.

With spinning growing in popularity during Cycle for Hope’s first few years, more and more people started participating. Almost always held on the Saturday before the Super Bowl, the event aims to attract new gym members, as well as those looking to keep up their New Year resolutions and burn calories before the big football game. Throughout the big day, thousands of rotations are made on each bike. Some people may cycle for an hour, while others will go the full six hours.

Involvement from local clubs continues to increase, with a total of ten participating this year. “Instructors see the benefit of donating to sick and injured kids in our community and love that they can be a part of helping a great cause while promoting fitness,” Powers said. LA Fitness’ Goodway and Marketplace locations, the Eastside YMCA, the Ironworx Gym, the Jewish Community Center of Rochester, Push Fitness, Core Rhythm Pilates, and the RAC for Women in Greece-Stoneridge and Pittsford Colony have all been active supporters of the event.   Cyclers

“This event would not be possible without the support of our community,” Nye said. “Whether they are avid cyclers or simply beginners, people make a difference by choosing to spend their time exercising with us.”

“We can’t thank Andy and Sue enough for all their hard work and dedication to Cycle for Hope,” said Stephanie Sheets, assistant director of community affairs at Golisano Children’s Hospital. “Year after year, the event brings the spinning community together to support our wonderful hospital and its patients, truly demonstrating the generosity of our supporters.”

The Cycle for Hope team member’s consistent dedication to Golisano Children’s Hospital and the exceptional care their hard work provides our patients and families are just a few reasons why they are being recognized with this year’s Miracle Maker Award for Outstanding Commitment by a Community Group.