Cycle for Survival: The Movement to Beat Rare Cancers

Cycle for Survival: The Movement to Beat Rare Cancers

Interview with cancer survivors Shannon Miller (U.S. Olympic Gymnast) and Dani Strumeier

We all remember Shannon Miller as one of the most decorated U.S. Olympic Gymnasts in history…

and a member of the famed Magnificent 7, and who has achieved much success through teamwork.

Now Shannon is teaming up with fellow cancer survivor, Dani Strumeier, to champion a cause for all who are battling rare cancers – Cycle for Survival, the movement to beat rare cancers.


This year more than 37,500 people nationwide are riding at Cycle for Survival events in January, February, and March. 100% of all funds raised by Cycle for Survival fund pioneering rare cancer research led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Both Shannon and Dani are on a mission to raise awareness and much-needed funding for these diseases.

When Dani met Shannon at a Cycle for Survival event in 2018, it was the first time she met someone who also survived a rare cancer called an ovarian germ cell tumor. In addition to sharing a rare cancer experience, they both have a passion to support others.

Together they are encouraging people to join Cycle for Survival, by registering to ride or by making donations online. Shannon has been a Cycle for Survival advocate since 2013. This year will mark Dani’s third year riding.

Every cancer patient has a story to tell.

Shannon was 33 when she was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer that required surgery and treatment. Today she is cancer-free and a mother of two.

Dani was a healthy and athletic 24-year old when she was diagnosed while starting her career in New York City almost three years ago.

She was forced to put her career and personal life on hold to focus on her health. After two surgeries and 19 chemotherapy infusions, Dani learned she was cancer-free in 2017.

Both Shannon and Dani know firsthand the importance of advancing research and clinical trials to help more rare cancer patients overcome their disease.

Since 2007, Cycle for Survival has raised more than $235 million through its signature high-energy indoor team cycling events across the U.S. Together with the movement’s founding partner, Equinox, Cycle for Survival has supported innovative clinical trials, research studies and major scientific initiatives. All donations are allocated within six months of the events.

Join me in a recent interview with Shannon Miller and Dani Strumeier to hear more about how the Cycle for Survival is aiming for their biggest year yet, and how you can get involved.

Shannon and Dani will also talk about their personal challenges with a rare form of cancer. The two women represent the spirit of the event – the importance of working together to help others toward a better future for rare cancer patients and their families.

See the entire interview here:

For more information, go to




Shannon Miller remains one of the Most Decorated Olympic Gymnasts in history with seven Olympic medals— two gold, two silver, and three bronze.

She is the only female athlete to be inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame – twice – individual in 2006, and team in 2008.

Shannon won an astounding 59 International and 49 National competition medals, with over half being gold. She is the first US gymnast to win two World All-Around Titles, and her tally of five medals (two silver, three bronze) at the 1992 Olympics was the most medals won by a US athlete in any sport.

At the ’96 Games, she led the “Magnificent Seven” to the US Women’s first-ever Team Gold and for the first time for any American gymnast, Shannon captured Gold on the Balance Beam.

After retiring from Olympic competition, Shannon received her undergraduate degrees in marketing and entrepreneurship from the University of Houston and a law degree from Boston College.

Shannon remains a part of the gymnastics and Olympic communities as an analyst and commentator. In addition, she has moved from an athlete to advocate for women’s health with a mission to help women make their health a priority through programs, education, and awareness.

In January of 2011, Shannon was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer. She had the baseball-sized tumor removed successfully and followed up with an aggressive chemotherapy regimen.

Now cancer-free, Shannon continues to be a strong advocate for early detection, awareness, research, and survivorship.

DANI STRUMEIER BIO  Pronouncer: Stroo-my-urr

Dani was a healthy and athletic 24-year-old working in New York City enjoying her career and excited about being newly promoted. She often declared that 2017 was “her year” and never imagined anything getting in the way of making that a reality.

But in July of 2017, after a trip to the emergency room, doctors diagnosed Dani with a very rare form of cancer called germ cell cancer, which can occur in the ovaries.

A summer that was supposed to be filled with trips to the beach and nights out with friends became trips to chemotherapy appointments and nights staying in to protect her weakened immune system.

Dani was forced to put her career and personal life on hold to focus on her health. She faced side effects from treatment like losing her long black hair, but through it all, Dani remained hopeful.

Dani knew soon after her first appointment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center that this hospital was going to save her life, and she would do anything she could to show thanks.

After two surgeries and 19 chemotherapy infusions, Dani learned that she was cancer-free in October 2017. With a newfound appreciation for life and immeasurable gratitude toward the place that saved her, Dani was determined to help others battling rare cancers by starting her own Cycle for Survival team with her co-workers.

But Dani’s family and friends wanted in too; with her entire network rallying around her, they formed several Cycle for Survival teams riding in honor of Dani – a remarkable show of support for her and those still fighting rare cancer.

In 2020, Dani’s team rode for the third year in a row at a Cycle for Survival event in February in New York City. She was the team captain, leading over 55 riders!

**Interview and Photos Courtesy of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC)




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Cynthia Tait

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