Ride of a Life Time raises money for Cohen Children’s Medical Center
By Jennifer Corr
The hour where participants would be left out of breath and sweaty pales in comparison to the agony children and their families go through when suffering from childhood cancer.
That is partly why the health club Life Time hosts the Ride of a Life Time event. Participants from Syosset, who often frequent spin classes, raised money for Steven and Alexandria Cohen Children’s Medical Center of New York, which is among the top children’s hospitals in the country. After raising money, participants show up to cycle for a good cause, keeping in mind all the families who go through tragedies like a child living with cancer or other serious diseases and conditions.
The event is done in partnership between the Life Time Foundation, which supports K-12 schools and mission-driven organizations nationwide, and Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Life Time gyms all across the country were cycling for a local children’s hospital. So far, the Life Time Foundation has raised $976,421.
At 8 a.m. on April 29, with heavy rain pouring down outside, the Life Time in Syosset was buzzing with excitement over the event. Raffles were offered to members of the gym and snacks were available to power up the participants since they were going to get quite a workout.
If you haven’t been to a Life Time before, it’s like a country club for people who enjoy working out. You can find pickleball courts, basketball courts, a full gym, an indoor and outdoor swimming pool, saunas, a Kid’s Academy, a spa, a cafe, and an assortment of fitness classes, among other amenities. You could tell just by walking around the gym that a community has blossomed.
“This is my third year doing Ride of a Life Time,” said Natalie Santiago, an instructor for Life Time. “It’s just a great feeling… The cause is amazing. Cancer, as you know, stinks. Each of us has known someone who has had cancer, who has battled cancer, and someone who has succumbed to cancer.
Our intent here is to provide awareness, especially for children. It’s tough enough being a child, but being a child who has cancer is definitely challenging to families, so we want to provide whatever we can for support; monetary value to help those who are struggling.”
Santiago has worked as an instructor for Life Time for seven years going on eight. She wasn’t always a fitness instructor, working on Wall Street for over 20 years prior. Santiago’s life changed when she joined the gym and took various classes. She took all the examinations and got all the licenses she needed to become an instructor, starting out as a cycling instructor. She teaches everything except for Zumba and kickboxing.
“One of the best things is, as performers here at Life Time, we’re motivators,” Santiago said. “Our job is to motivate people to want to come to Life Time.”
But this particular cycle session held on April 29 is special.
“This ride is a little different than a traditional, everyday class,” Santiago said. “We’re all here for a purpose. Every year that I do it, the biggest line that I say is ‘I really hope that I don’t have to do this ride next year.’ And the reason why I say I don’t want to do the ride next year is I’m hoping there’s some kind of cure for cancer.”
Leading this class were instructors Steve Korman, Santiago and Mary Ciaccio. Almost every stationary bike was in use.
The studio was lit up in red lights and each participant was given a glow stick bracelet and a sweat towel, which was ultimately used to raise up in the air for motivation.
Participants were instructed to change the resistance from lighter to more resistance, rotate between standing up and sitting down and speeding up and slowing down.
Every participant got a good workout amid fun, upbeat music and a supportive, cheerful crowd.
“I cycle with Steve once a week at 5:45 a.m.,” said participant David Weinstein, adding that he’s been in the cycling class since the gym opened. “I did [Ride of a Life Time] before Covid… I have two kids and I’m thankful that they’re healthy.”
Participant Joseph Tirado is a frequent supporter of the Children’s Cancer Research Fund, ultimately leading him to this Ride of a Life Time event.
“For the last three years I did the Children’s Cancer Research rides, so I was raising money for that, but I come to Life Time and take Steve’s class and the other instructors’ classes and when I heard about this, I said I’ll fundraise for this one too,” Tirado said.
Tirado raised $150 for this event, and in total has raised $3,000 for children’s cancer research for various charity groups since 2020. He said he is inspired to raise money for this cause because a colleague of his lost his young daughter to cancer,
The fundraiser will remain open throughout the month. To donate, visit www.helpmakemiracles.org, click on “More Events” and search “Life Time.”