The Trumbull-based running group Girls Gone Miles traded their running shoes for spin bikes in support of cancer survivors earlier this month at the JoyRide of Westport Spinathon. Led by teammate and JoyRide of Westport Spin Instructor Meagen O’Connell, the Girls Gone Miles spinners joined nearly 70 other participants to raise $6,000 to benefit CT Challenge programs for cancer survivors, including the Southport-based Center for Survivorship, which empower survivors to reclaim their lives from cancer through exercise, nutrition, meditation, yoga and community-building support workshops and activities.

Testifying to the common ground shared by this group of supporters and the CT Challenge, Girls Gone Miles Team Captain Jennifer Iacaarino said, “Girls Gone Miles was born during an overnight relay in 2010. After the relay, we continued to run together, encourage one another and challenge one another through other running/sports and life events. We know firsthand how exercise can help the mind and body and wanted to share that with others.”

“Girls Gone Miles has been wanting to put our efforts together to raise money and awareness for an organization that we would really stand behind and want to support. We couldn’t think of a better place than The Center for Survivorship,” said O’Connell.

Two classes of 40 bikes went to participants who donated a minimum of $40 each to ride. Raffle baskets and items were generously donated by local businesses--everything from restaurant gift cards to wine to movie theater tickets. Before each class, participants wrote the names of who they were riding for on the glass mirror behind the instructor’s stage so all could be inspired as they rode.

“The energy and passion in the JoyRide Studio kind of took my breath away,” said Center for Survivorship Wellness Director Tori Fairchild. “To see the CT Challenge mission hit home with all those people and watch them use their strength to support programs that will help others regain their own from such a terrible disease was just incredible. We are so grateful JoyRide and Girls Gone Miles chose to support the CT Challenge and our Center for Survivorship with this incredibly moving event,” she concluded.