On Saturday, Feb. 16, two local Gold’s Gyms were looking more “Gold” than ever. Melanie Romano, a part-time Spin instructor at Gold’s in Whitehall, organized the 2nd Annual “Spin for Sam” to raise money for Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley in honor of Samuel Grady, a 4-year-old boy who’s been battling leukemia for over a year.
While Sam is thankfully in remission, his active treatment will continue for the next several years, making his childhood much more complicated than other preschoolers his age.
Sam’s mom, Pauline, never thought that pediatric cancer would become a part of her family’s life. “I remember hearing about a friend’s son who was sick and thinking, this will never happen to us. Thank god my children are healthy.”
But only two months later, she and her husband were in the ER at the Children’s Hospital at Lehigh Valley Hospital when they received the news about their son, Sam.
“Two doctors came in and told us that Sam had cancer. Our lives changed in a split second.”
While Spin for Sam is in its second year, it’s certainly not going to be it’s last. Mel and her team of volunteers are already talking about how to expand the event to include even more gyms. This year’s “Spin” included 60 spinners, 30 in each location, to ride on stationary bikes for a total of 3-hours. There were raffle prizes, goodie bags for each “spinner” and awards for the spinner who raised the most money.
Mel was thrilled when the total amount raised for the event far exceeded her initial goal of $12,000.
“The Grady’s are an exceptional family and the fact that they are looking for ways to help other families battling pediatric cancer is such an inspiration to me,” Mel shared.
Currently, $20,000 has been raised and donations are still tricking in. The Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley is a local, 501c3 non profit which creates a loving and supportive community for local children and their families battling cancer.
"The Spin for Sam is a victory for all of the children and families who are facing cancer,"commented Carrie Gofberg, executive director of the foundation. "Not only are we overwhelmed by the amount of money raised, we are humbled by the show of support the event has received."
Sam's mom was truly moved by the spirit of the event.
“Melanie turned this “mess” into a “message,” she said in a speech she prepared for the spinners. ”I want to thank Mel for being an incredible friend and for being an incredible support to my family, and to the pediatric cancer community as a whole by raising awareness and spreading the gold.”