220-mile ride to raise funds for Young Survival Coalition
By Meagan McGone
BREVARD - For the third year in a row, Lynn Pekmezian will cover 220 miles, over a three-day period, on her bicycle.
The Melbourne Beach resident will ride from Philadelphia to Washington, D.C., with a group of 10 people - six breast cancer survivors in total, as well as four of their husbands - to raise funds for the Young Survival Coalition, a group supporting critical issues, resources and programs, unique to women younger than 45, who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.
Each year, the organization sponsors four "Tour de Pink" rides throughout the United States, as a way to continue its programs. Ms. Pekmezian will be participating in the East Coast route.
"I have been spending most of my days, the past month, on my bike in preparation for this year's 'Tour de Pink' to support the Young Survival Coalition," Ms. Pekmezian said. "When I ride, I feel I am making a difference. While the Young Survival Coalition was not created to cure cancer, it has a much more important role - to support cancer. Whether it be modern technology allowing for more diagnoses or our environment that is helping the cancer cells thrive, breast cancer is prevalent."
Ms. Pekmezian's group, The Melbourne Beach Cancer Chicks, will start its journey on Sept. 28. A breast cancer survivor herself, Ms. Pekmezian said the work leading up to the event can be grueling, but the outcome is rewarding.
"Training is tough, especially in this heat," she said. "I am currently trying to ride four to five days per week, with several long rides, 40 miles or more, mixed in. It is very time consuming, and as a mother of three, sometimes it is hard to squeeze in the miles that I need to cover."
But the funds and awareness that her group will raise for the Young Survival Coalition is enough to bring her to the finish line, as it has for the past three years.
"The Young Survival Coalition strives to support young, newly diagnosed breast cancer patients because the issues that a young woman faces are different," she said. "Some women are being diagnosed in their 20s, and they have not even had the opportunity to have a family yet. Sadly, breast cancer in a young woman's body tends to be more aggressive, so treatment is more severe. For these women, (my husband) Dean and I continue to hop on our bikes and ride, and we appreciate any support."
For information, about the ride, visit www.ysctourdepink.org.
For more information about the Young Survival Coalition, visit www.youngsurvival.org.