An Outpouring of Love for a NET Patient with Sass

Sarah’s neighborhood friends: MaryDawn Bovatsek, Maureen Speers, Shannon Megroz, Lotta Bjuves supported the fundraiser.

CycleBar Hilltop Raises $13K for NET Research

There wasn’t an empty bike to be found in the studio at Cyclebar Hilltop in Virginia Beach on June 5th. The seats had been sold out for days. Everyone wanted to be a part of Sarah McCallum’s indoor cycling class. Known as Sass, she’s helped people ‘rock their ride’ for the last two years, serving as a mentor, coach and inspiration to her riders. It’s more than a job to her or a work-out, she likens her classes to group therapy (albeit the kind of therapy where you sweat a lot). Sarah believes mental well-being sets the tone for facing life’s challenges. Her own resolve was tested earlier this year when she was diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer.

“This disease threw me for a loop when I first received the diagnosis,” says Sarah. “I’ve always taken such good care of myself. I’ve learned to be kinder and gentler to my body and to take it easy when I need to, but also continue to do what I love when my body allows it. I hope I can show others that this disease shouldn’t stop you from living your best life.”

Sarah smiles with her husband Christopher, and sons Brogan and Griffin, along with high school friends Joe Dalton and Susan Lloyd 

When Sarah was diagnosed with a NET, she turned to the Neuroendocrine Tumor Research Foundation (NETRF) for understanding about her condition, a mysterious and often misunderstood group of cancers. NETRF’s extensive patient education resources provided her with clarity. When she learned that her NET specialists at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute had also been able to conduct NET research through grants provided by NETRF, she decided she wanted to raise funds to help NETRF find a cure for neuroendocrine tumors. 

“I knew that in order for us to raise enough money to make an impact, I had to be vulnerable and share my story,” explains Sarah. “I decided to be an open book from the start of this; it’s my nature to wear my heart on my sleeve. However, that doesn’t mean it isn’t scary. I was worried there would only be a handful of people wanting to commit their time and money to this cause.”

Instead, the fitness community at Cyclebar Hilltop wrapped both their figurative and literal arms around Sarah and within a few days of the ride opening up, there was a waitlist.

“Sass taught the class and it was an emotional experience for everyone. It’s been our most successful fundraiser to date,” said Tage Wait, Event Organizer and General Manager of Cyclebar Hilltop. “It was such a great feeling, and Sarah means a lot to us obviously, to see her so proud of it was really cool.” 

Sarah’s college roommate Chrissie Davis, surprised Sarah and flew in from Baltimore Maryland for the event.

The event raised $13,000 for NET research and an overwhelming outpouring of love. 

“I want to weep when I think of all the people who have shown up for me during this time. I am humbled by all of the love I have been shown,” says Sarah. “I’m also proud that I can turn this pretty crappy situation in my life into something that will hopefully help other people who are also dealing with this. Thank you for giving me and thousands of others hope.”

NETRF is grateful for the tremendous support of Sarah McCallum and the Cyclebar Hilltop community of riders.

If you are interested in organizing a fundraiser for NETRF, please reach out to Susan Payson, Chief Development Officer at susan.payson@netrf.org.

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