Students Help Out With Spin Odyssey Event


Participants in the Spin Odyssey event exercise on a stationary cycle. In ten years, this event has raised over 2 million dollars to fund breast cancer research. | Photo by Jordan Ahava ’12

In just 10 years with the help of Staples students, the Spin Odyssey event, a cycling and rundraising event, has raised over 2 million dollars to fund breast cancer research. The event, which includes a variety of fitness activities, as well as many food stands, took place on Sunday March 7 at Intensity of Norwalk.

The event is entirely volunteer run, and the Staples community takes the opportunity to get involved.  Numerous teams and clubs at Staples took initiative and help out in different ways. This year, the girls’ golf team helped stuff goodie bags for the event.

Annie Parkinson ’10 of the girls’ gold team volunteered because she believed that it provides a “great opportunity for the community to get together for a good cause.”

However, preparing all of these goodie bags is quite a process. It takes around four hours to finish all of them. However, there is a lot of preparation prior to the actual creation of them. It is set up so that a volunteer takes a backpack and goes around the room grabbing each item from a box. Last year, numerous products were donated from Nivea, such as skin and beauty care and an array of other items such as energy drink packets.

Another team that participated was the Staples Football team, who got involved by using their strength.

“It used to take four hours to set up, but with the help of the football team it takes one hour,” said Patty Kondub, chair of the event and Staples alumna ’81, “The team is really supportive and they work hard.”

Football coach Marce Petroccio rallied the team up to come out.

“Anytime we can get out and do something we are more then willing to help,” said Petroccio.

The players felt the same way and enthusiastically volunteered to help set up for the event by moving the heavy equipment into place.

“This event undoubtedly makes a difference, whether that difference is of monetary or awareness-raising nature,” said left guard Devin Graber ’10.

With all of this help, the event, co-founded by Delia Thomson and Amelie Babekie, has been making leaps and bounds since the new millennium. In its first year, the event pulled in a total of $5,244. As the event continues to grow in popularity the amount of money they raise each year is growing as well; in 2008 the Spin Odyssey brought in a total of $533,000.  This year, the event was an incredible success as they raised $381,000, over $80,000 beyond their original goal.

Local sponsors reached out to help the event this year, including Robek’s and Bertuccis of Westport and Darien, who teamed up to provide food for the participants.

Many people support the event knowing that 100 percent of the donations go directly to American Cancer Society to fund breast cancer research. Past researchers funded by Spin Odyssey have made enough progress in their research enabling them to go to the next level of clinical trials.

Many women who are breast cancer survivors. or who have loved ones whom they have lost to breast cancer, come to the event to bring their knowledge and experiences. Kondub expressed that it is very inspirational as well as emotional to see all of these strong women participate and volunteer at the event.

Anyone who participates could partake in any or all of the three activities: zumba, spinning, and tennis.

Participants were able to train for the event free of charge at numerous gyms.

At the event people were able to sign up to spin up to six hours on one of over 200 bikes.

Kondub trained with her Staples cycling club once or twice a week as they prepared to participate in the event.

“It is a superb feeling to be involved in something bigger,” said Alec Bernard ’10 who is a member of the cycling club, who helped to set up for the event. The football team came out to help with setup and clean up all three days.

“They were great and really fun,” said Kondub, “I couldn’t have asked for any better help.”

In past years, volunteers would be cleaning until 10 p.m. but because of the football team, they were able to finish at a quarter to seven. Kondub said that the football team was part of the key to the event’s success.

The cycling club also put in all of their effort staying two hours after the event ended as well as after they had been spinning for hours to help clean up.

“This is our best event yet,” said Kondub.  I

Participants in the Spin Odyssey event exercise on a stationary cycle. In ten years, this event has raised over 2 million dollars to fund breast cancer research. | Photo by Jordan Ahava '12