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From Dave Linn – Fearlessly gearing up for Cycle for Survival

Cycle for Survival is here! This weekend, events will be held in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Long Island! And next week, it's New York, DC and Chicago! Dave already packed his bags and is on the ground ready to go for the first ever Los Angeles ride. Today, we have a special YouFearless blog post from Dave…

While I’m fired up and ready to have a fantastic 2012 season, there have certainly been moments over the past months where I’ve been challenged by fear. From stepping into the Cycle spotlight, to doing TV interviews (not as easy as Jen made it look!), or to returning to the business school campus where Jen and I met to speak about Cycle to a group of YPO members, I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being somewhat fearful at times.

But each time I start to go down that road of letting fear hold me back, I think of Jen and all she went through – 6 major surgeries and more than 20 different types of chemotherapy…and she was still smiling the entire way.  Then I think about the hundreds of other incredible patients I’ve met through Cycle – to just name a few: Alyssa, Corrie, Emma, Ethan, Jason, Jenny, Lauren, Mark, Matt, Meira, Mona, Paul, Perry, Stacey, Sydney, and so many others.  And I remind myself that if Jen and all of them can be fearless, then I can be fearless too.  

So, as we approach the first Cycle events without Jen, I will embrace everything that she stood for and fearlessly walk into each of the Equinox clubs.  I know that if we all keep working together, we will make Jen proud and help find new treatment options for millions of rare cancer patients.   

Here’s to an amazing, exciting, FEARLESS, and hopeful Cycle 2012…I can’t wait to ride with you!

-Dave Linn 

P.S. if you want to see some of the incredible interviews Dave has done…

and there is even more on the official Cycle site at:

Perry and her book report

As you all know, Cycle for Survival is around the corner.  The remarkable fundraising effort that Jen imagined and developed together with Dave will raise millions of dollars this year – ALL of which will go straight to cancer research.  Every single penny.  I don’t think anyone reading this blog needs inspiration around the importance of Cycle, but it never hurts to remind us all why Jen’s mission, OUR mission, to eradicate fear and ultimately cancer from the equation is so important.  At the kick-off for Cycle this year, Dave Linn introduced me to a lovely couple – the Zimmermans – and told me about their 11-year old daughter, Perry.

Perry is a shining example of the reason we must all redouble our efforts to raise money for Cycle and support research at MSKCC.  A student at The Cathedral School, she often reads the You Fearless blog, spending time with the latest posts and also deriving strength from Jen’s original words and videos which fortify Perry during her more challenging moments. She knew and LOVED Jen.  Perry is currently being treated at MSKCC for Osteosarcoma, and her story is nothing short of inspiring.

Perry’s battle with cancer started literally at birth with Retinoblastoma, which she successfully conquered by the age of one.  Following that victory were more challenges including a brain tumor when she was two. At that point her chances of survival were well less than 10 percent but she persevered.  After being cancer-free for nine years, Perry developed a lump in her leg over the summer.  Several rounds of chemotherapy and a fifteen-hour surgery later, she is doing well and is halfway through her treatment plan.   For a girl in a cast up to her waist with a lot of chemotherapy ahead of her, she is an upbeat, precocious, and optimistic child with three dear siblings who she loves.

Perry faces her life with courage at every turn.  In fact, for a school book report, she analyzed her own life in comparison to a book character.  When you read this, you will see what true fearlessness really means.  It is facing one’s situation head on, analyzing it, and developing an action plan.   Perry looked at Jen as a hero, but I think after reading this essay from 11-year old Perry, we will all be struck by her bravery and extraordinarily inspiring attitude.

Perry’s book report


In order to compare Brian’s life to mine I would mostly have to state differences, although there are some similarities. I have never been on a private jet, nor have I have lived in the wilderness. I am not an only child like Brian. Those are the differences I can find. Brian and I also have some similarities. Brian is motivated to survive on his own in the woods. For example, after he gets sick from eating gut cherries, he tells himself that things are bad but not that bad. I am motivated to live through this cancer treatment. For me, I got through something worse when I was a baby, so I can get through this. Like Brian, I try to stay positive. Brian is pretty organized in his way of life. He has to be to tell what time of day it is since he has no watch. Brian has to plan his day carefully in order to survive. I am kind of organized with my belongings. I have to be organized in order to know when to come to the hospital. I also have a very detailed schedule to follow. Brian is very courageous when he lands the plane without experience. I am super courageous going through this treatment. These are some of the differences and similarities that we share.

Perry, you inspire me.  And I am certain so many others who will read this will have a similar reaction. Thank you for fearlessly sharing your story.

Feel inspired to share your fearless story?  Please email me at  Feel inspired to do something?  Go to – you’ll know what to do.  See you at Cycle!

-Janet Balis

Keep Moving Forward

During this holiday week, no matter what your traditions, I hope you have A moment to cherish THE moment. The beauty of the holidays for me is a chance to slow down, think more, and appreciate.

I am frequently struck by the sheer power of optimism, fearlessness, and love. And, I have been truly touched by people who have told me that they ARE reading this blog, deriving strength from Jen’s original posts as well as the new ideas and stories we are sharing here to honor the original purpose of one of Jen’s many creations, You Fearless.

At this very special time of the year, I am particularly honored to share the following post from Andrew Stern, who was friends with Dave in business school and met Jen through him. Coincidentally, Andrew’s wife knew Jen in college. As Andrew puts it, Dave and Jen “have both been an inspiration to us at various points in our lives. In particular they really leapt into action when I was first diagnosed.” He went on to say, “I found out only later that Jen had just been told she was having what turned out to be her final relapse. At the time you wouldn't imagine they had anything more important than helping me to cope with my own diagnosis.” As so many of us know, Jen was always helping people, trying to put them in touch with folks who could help them – from cancer to careers and beyond. Jen was a connector – deeply committed to helping people find other people who could help.

This blog continues to be a connector – putting people together to inspire each other. I encourage you to share stories here by emailing me at because from this community comes strength, and your fearless story may be the one that inspires someone to fight that much harder, to have that much less fear, and to simply enjoy life. I hope you will embrace the opportunity to be a part of You Fearless.

From Andrew Stern:

“I don’t think of myself as fearless. I am scared of heights. I’m scared of clerks in fancy stores and old people driving at night. I’m scared of terrorists with dirty bombs. I’m scared to know about all the nasty things in the food I eat, and the air I breathe. I’m scared that I’ll bike over a patch of grease in the road and crash. I’m terrified that one day airplanes are going to fall straight down because, come on: they are giant tubes made of metal that should not float in the air. But sitting in the leather chair of my doctor’s office last July, hearing for the first time that I had cancer, I didn’t have the inclination, or perhaps the luxury, to be afraid. I was upset that it was happening to me, mostly. I had projects going on at home and at work, which did not involve time off for hospitals and procedures whose names had only vague meanings to me: Chemotherapy. Radiation. Stem-cell transplants. I had better things to do. I was uncertain about how my life would change, and what ordeals I would have to endure. Fear just wasn’t high on the list of my emotions.

My family doctor was a genial old man; in my head it’s hard to separate him from the muppet version of him that would presumably be used in the movie of my life. He had a bushy white moustache and bushy white hair neatly confined to the sides of his head, and he padded around between his yellowed, obsolete-looking exam room and the overstuffed office of his little private practice in well-worn patterns. He had a collection of duck decoys on shelves behind his desk.

I looked at the ducks and listened to the words he was saying and waited for them to sink in. Of course, the words he used at first were medical euphemisms, vague in their specificity. I had lesions, they were caused by a blood condition called multiple myeloma, which triggered my platelets to multiply abnormally. “I’m sorry to interrupt you,” I finally had to say, “but just to be clear: you are saying that I have cancer, right? This condition is a form of cancer?” He was; it is.

pLater on, I found a few things to be afraid of, most of which never came to pass. When told that the cancer was in my bone marrow, I pictured myself undergoing some kind of bone-marrow transplant like Hugh Jackman’s bone implant scene in Wolverine, and silently braced myself for it. As it turns out, actual bone-marrow transplants – cracking open the bones and physically scraping out the marrow – are very rarely performed anymore, and never for my particular type of cancer. I was afraid of becoming feeble, of losing my hair or my teeth or my wits, but none of the treatments seem to do that to me for whatever reason. I just get a bit tired and, according to my wife, a bit irritable.

There were a few things I should have been afraid of but was too preoccupied or too uninformed to dwell on. The first oncologist I saw, who agreed to see me at 6pm the day I was diagnosed, had me lie down on an exam table in his office to take a bone marrow biopsy. I have since learned that this procedure is one of three things which the medical profession generally considers a “10” on the 1-10 pain scale (the others are natural childbirth and pancreatitis, in case it ever comes up in a game of Trivial Pursuit). At the time it was the least of my concerns, and it was over soon enough. I should have been concerned that I would not respond to the new, highly-targeted drugs which can keep the disease in remission for decades. But I planned for success, and success is what I’ve gotten so far.

Sometimes I let myself get angry; it seems unfair that this should happen to me although, honestly, it’s not clear what would make anyone more or less deserving. I let myself cry one night – but only one night – out of pure frustration, powerlessness, and rage. But fear has never seemed like an appropriate reaction. I’ll save my fear for things that are really scary, like those planes in the sky. Funny thing, though: the reason they stay up there is that they keep moving forward.” -Andrew Stern 

Thank you for sharing so fearlessly, Andrew! Wishing everyone all the best during this holiday season, Janet

Dave appears on CBS!

Dave Linn appeared on CBS News in New York this morning to talk about Cycle for Survival.  As we all work to expand our teams, reach out to new participants and fundraise for Cycle for Survival, there is probably no better explanation of why we all do it than Dave's comments today.  As you watch the segment, it is so apparent how much Jen touched the reporter and the CBS News team over the years they have covered her story.  You can find the link here and the text version follows below….

I encourage you to take a few minutes to watch the video – it's a wonderful reminder of why we are all so committed to Cycle for Survival.  Huge congrats to Dave on a great appearance this morning to shine a light on the incredible organization that he and Jen created and the continued, perhaps even amplified, importance of its mission.

-Janet, on behalf of



NEW YORK (CBS 2) — For the past several years,  “Cycle For Awareness” has been raising money and awareness for rare forms of cancer, like the one that founder Jennifer Goodman-Linn had been battling. This summer, Jen lost a brave, 7-year battle, but her grace and courage remained an inspiration.

“I’ll never forget it, the radiologist said to me, are you aware that you have a tumor the size of a football in your stomach?” Jen told CBS 2 in an interview before she passed away.

In 2004, Jen was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Regular trips to the gym to ride an exercise bike became a regular part of her recovery.

“For me being on the bike was cathartic…when it felt good I did an hour, when it didn’t, I did 15 minutes,” she said.

Jen’s friend Kate Sullivan told CBS 2 that those trips to the gym eventually gave birth to an idea.

“One day we got together, we said what happens if we put our passion for cycling together with raising money for rare cancers. And that’s cycle for survival,” Sullivan said.

In its first year cycle for survival had a handful of people, mostly Jen’s friends and family, participating at a local gym. But the fundraiser took off and the money raised was donated to the Memorial Sloan Kettering for Research of Rare Cancers. Last year there were 4,500 participants in New York, Chicago, and San Francisco.

The 2012 Cycle For Survival will take place in New York the weekend of February 11 and 12.

Fearless parents…a very special blog post from Sandy and Len Goodman

A very, very special post from Jen's parents, Sandy and Len Goodman:

Hey! It’s me.  Hope you’re doing well!

Nature? Nurture?  Was Jen born with exceptional  innate traits or was it her exposure to a tremendous number of incredibly special people?  Nevertheless, she was a determined woman from the minute of birth!

It was almost as if she had an urgent, preordained mission for her life. Jennifer was delivered within 5 minutes of arriving at Mountainside Hospital in Glen Ridge, NJ!  Five minutes! With a zest for life and generous, thoughtful heart, she grew up appropriately challenging authority, relishing how she met exciting challenges, fiercely defending  her friends, and always representing worthy causes. People seemed to be constantly charmed by her. She related to all ages and was as comfortable in a sandbox as she was in a corporate boardroom.

We beamed when 5 year old Jen raced her older brother’s friends and won! We giggled when she technically won the town’s track meet, but came in “second” because she did not want to ruin the pretty finish line ribbon!  Then, there is the legendary baton toss flip at her fourth grade talent show. The routine called for a jazzy number to Last Dance, throwing that stick high into the air, making a quick 360, and catching the baton with a deep curtsy.  After making a hole on our front lawn from the hundreds of times she dropped the baton, practicing and practicing for weeks, she never was successful with that final move.   She easily could have altered that routine. Donna Summers would not have minded. (Ho Ho)   BUT, in true Jen style, she went on stage and wowed the audience with that engaging smile and her  spectacular twirling ending! SHE CAUGHT THE BATON! Again, we howled when she returned from fifth grade one day to announce that the music teacher was desperate for 2  drummers for the band, and turned to Jennifer and her friend, the gusto girls, to quickly work with him and fill this need for the school recital.  Of course, Jen stepped up, and somehow pulled it off.  Her brother Brett will not forget the weekend when we 3 had to deliver over 450 boxes of Girl Scout cookies for Jen, who won the troop prize, of course,  for  selling the most cookies, but who was laughing in bed with Chicken Pox and could not do the grunt work!  


ONCE, just once, we advocated for our daughter in high school because she was so frustrated that she was cut from an honor’s English class. “I would rather be the very bottom student in that class than be the top student in the next cohort.”  Jen’s persona: placing and facing obstacles!  As president of her high school Key Club, it was no surprise to us that Jennifer orchestrated a fundraiser to benefit Make a Wish, the likes of which the school had never seen before, delegating to 250 people (adults and kids)  and raising over a whopping  $20,000!

While at Duke we heard frequently how our daughter joined a program and became a big sister to a needy local teen. Endless hours for 3 years …. Back in New York City, Jen continued this role and befriended a junior high school student. Soon Eden became “family” and Jennifer  and she enjoyed cultural entertainment, shopping, and spent quality time far beyond the program’s academic description.  Jennifer even attended Eden’s school conferences and made certain she had a home computer and other school essentials.    

With the cancer prognosis  becoming more gloomy, Jen never asked, “Why me?”  That would have been a waste of her energy.  Instead she was determined to use her time left in a positive way, living life to its FULLEST and inspiring others to seize the day.

One of the best examples of Jen’s courage was just days before her passing. More than a thousand cancer survivors were scheduled to hear Jennifer’s keynote address in Long Island. Her medical condition was grave.  Her legs were swollen to more than twice their normal size and dotted with huge oozing blisters.  Her stomach made her appear in the last stages of a pregnancy, but this condition was caused by uncontrollably growing tumors.  Horrible pain, partially managed by drugs, Jen was slow-moving, quiet, and realizing that the sedative nature of the drugs was threatening her concentration and articulation.  Walking and climbing stairs was very labored. SHE WOULD NOT CANCEL THIS ENGAGEMENT! Somehow, she stood for over” 20 minutes, and spoke only as she could.  From the car driving her home, she phoned and shared her pride with the standing ovation and described her motivational speech as good, but “not my A game.” Jen died 6 days later.

It is now up to all of us who were somehow touched by Jennifer to continue her mission.   We can best honor her memory by continuing to build her “baby,” her legacy, Cycle for Survival.   We urge you to initiate teams, spread the word, proactively become involved. Raise money so that the roots to this insidious disease are untangled and eradicated.

Jennifer was raised in the small town of Livingston, New Jersey.  On February 11, 2012, her hometown is coming together and embracing her legacy, Cycle for Survival.  This day of memory will be a great celebration of our daughter’s life.  The satellite event has the support of the schools, the merchants, the police, the fire department, the politicians, and numerous organizations and clubs….cycling on over 100 spin bikes and supporting cancer lab research for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.  Sydney Becker, a 13 year old Livingston sarcoma survivor who was touched by Jen,  will lead the teen spin.

One of Jen’s friends sent us a note, “Steve Jobs gave the world the IPAD. Jennifer Goodman Linn has given the world hope.”  There is no greater epithet.

Jennifer Goodman Linn brought a light to our lives every single day. We fondly recall those 7 words that religiously began every one of her voice mails for years and years: “ Hey! It’s me. Hope you’re doing well.” Our extended family associate her name with frolic, her love for dancing, Barbi dolls, the gym, a contagious giggle, that incredible toothy smile; clothes and more clothes,  laughter, BIG IDEAS, a work-ethic like none other, Duke basketball games,  sunflowers; Gerber daisies; presents, the beach, jam-packed fun weekends, HER SKILLIONS OF FRIENDS,  the July 4th egg toss games,  brownie sundaes oozing with hot fudge, and her rock and treasure, David.   While cancer robbed us of her physically, it has not taken her spirit, her memory, her legacy…which will live on forever.  Love you, Jen.

We wish we could reach out personally to the hundreds and hundreds of people who have sent us warm, beautiful messages of condolence.   Hopefully, if you see us, you will step up and introduce yourself.   For now, from deep down in our hearts, a sincere … Thank You!

-Sandy & Len Goodman

Fearless stories and shout-outs (including an update from Dave!)

Fearless stories. The mission of living life fearlessly is one we share, as a community of people inspired by Jen. As I mentioned in previous posts, will become a place where we inspire each other and find new people who can benefit from eliminating fear from the equation. Some posts will focus on one fearless person, while others (like today’s) will include a few more opportunities to check in with fearless people and stories, including Dave Linn!

You have to be fearless to share, and I challenge you to do so. I hope you will email me (Janet Balis Allen) at with any stories you might want to share.  Everyone reading this post has a story to share, and I hope you will.

The article below is from Judith Hammerman, a member of my Cycle for Survival team who recently wrote a story for The Huffington Post, inspired by Arianna Huffington’s new book On Becoming Fearless. Speaking about Judith’s own experiences facing fear, she highlights inspiration – from Steve Jobs to Jen herself. Here is an excerpt:

“Fear less, hope more, eat less, chew more, whine less, breathe more, talk less, say more, love more, and all good things will be yours. ~ Swedish Proverb

At some point over the last few years, I started thinking about fear. This isn't the scary movie, dark and rainy knock at the door fear. This is the fear that slowly stirs you out of bed in the middle of the night, the fear that speaks quietly and reminds you of the most essential parts of you. It's the fear that holds you back from being everything you ever dreamed you could be in this lifetime, your best and highest self in work, in love and in life. I started thinking about this kind of fear during a time where I'd had a few personal and professional wins and just as many set backs. For awhile I just observed, but then I started realizing everything I wanted in life was just on the other side of comfort. “ – Judith Hammerman

I encourage you read more of Judith’s post at

Fearless Shout-outs.  And now a few fearless shout-outs:

To Sydney Becker… Our first fearless shout-out goes to 13-year old Sydney Becker. Last week, Sydney finished the final chemotherapy infusion of a 7+ month treatment cycle. Congrats, Sydney – you’re an inspiration to all of us! •

To Jon Sierk… Jon, a college friend and soccer teammate of Dave’s, must be fearless, if only based on the name of his Cycle for Survival team – Buns of Steel!  Dave relays that Jon isn’t quite as ripped now as he was during his soccer days, but he nevertheless confirmed his fearlessness by sending a very thoughtful letter to Dave about what Jen and Cycle for Survival mean to him. Jon is a pediatric dentist in Colorado. Every year, he travels to Chicago to ride in Cycle for Survival, and in conjunction with his fundraising, he provides free mouthguards to his patients to prevent sports injuries. 

To Dave Linn… I’m happy to report that Dave continues to live life fearlessly. Dave checks in with this update:

“Hi Fearless Friends. All things considered, I guess I’m doing ok. As we all do, I still miss Jen like crazy, but some of the tears are slowly being replaced by smiles and happy memories of our time together. Whenever I get down, I think about the incredible commitment Jen made – no matter what happened to her, no matter how many invasive surgeries, no matter how many toxic chemotherapy treatments, no matter how much pain she was in, her commitment was that she would do everything possible to help the millions of other rare cancer patients. And now it’s up to us to continue that commitment…please help me do so!”  – Dave Linn

Thank you, Dave! I can personally say that you were absolutely inspiring at the recent Cycle kick-off event in NYC. It was heartfelt, meaningful and motviating.  Dave spoke right after the Cycle team showed this video, which they said is the start of the conversation about how Jen inspired so many people through Cycle for Survival:

To Jen's Study Group…And our final fearless shout-out goes to Jen’s Harvard Business School study group. No one knew how much procrastination bothered Jen, more than this group of people. In honor of Jen’s push to always get Cycle teams registered as soon as possible, her HBS Study Group issued the “Fearless Registration Challenge”: Register 400 bikes between now and Thanksgiving and the Study Group will make an incredible $100,000 donation to Cycle!  It's on at!

Continuing to Build You Fearless

You Fearless embraces one of Jen’s core beliefs: that we all can get more out of life and from ourselves, if we eradicate fear from the equation. In Jen’s case, it was a mindset that emboldened her on many fronts. Jen very much wanted You Fearless to continue to embody that mission long after she left us. And so, we honor that wish here by starting to collect and share Fearless stories that can continue to inspire people to push past their fears to build confidence, achieve more and ultimately find more happiness.

One has to be fearless in offering the first “fearless story” and so we are very grateful to Jen’s close friend Marc Lavine for offering this contribution. Marc became friends with Jen through Cycle For Survival.  With the support of over 100 sponsors, he has his fearless moment every year by riding for the entire 8-hour extreme shift at Cycle For Survival Marc’s fearless story, which follows below, shows a light but very meaningful lesson: the value of teaching our children to overcome their fears. I hope you find inspiration in this sweet story and decide to share your fearless stories – big or small – on this site. Please email me (Janet Balis Allen) at if you would like to offer a story.

It is only through the strength of this community of people who loved and followed Jen and found inspiration through her words that we can keep this mission vibrant and growing. I look forward to hearing more wonderful stories from each of you and sharing them on Without further preamble, I offer you this Fearless story from Marc Lavine:

When I think of this web site and the meaning behind it, I think beyond Jen's time with cancer.  I think about some of life's lessons I learned in her talks and the clues she gave us to her life through  One of those lessons was that being fearless is not just about battling cancer.  It's about the internal battles we all have with ourselves – overcoming fears and concerns that keep us from reaching something bigger.  Whether we are 12 or 40, we all have something that holds us back.  The question is: when faced with those fears in a moment of decision, what do we do?

My six year-old recently taught me the meaning of courage in his "fearless" moment.  He's a soccer player and was invited to try out for a special skills class.  He had been pretty pumped about it all week but on the day of tryouts, he decided that he did not want to go and that he did not care.  Without giving my wife or me a clue as to what specifically bothered him, he maintained this as his mantra for the better part of the two hours leading up to the tryout. I told him that he had to go and that if he did not want to play after today, then that was his choice, but he was not going to quit before he even gave it a try.  

As we entered the park, he still was not giving up his thoughts to me and I did not want to push it.  I walked a little ahead of him and when I announced that I could see the goals and other players, he quickly announced that he was scared.  There it was.  His expression of fear.  Just admitting it took guts.  

We sat down right where we were and started to talk about his concerns.  In his mind, they were as large as life including: a new coach, new kids with whom he would have to play, and of course, doubts as to whether or not he was as good as the others.  I told him that the only way to answer his doubts was to go out there and play.  He did not have to score and he did not have to block every attack.  He had to do one thing: walk away at the end knowing that he played his best – that he did not quit before he gave himself a chance. 

He stared at me for a minute as he processed my advice.  He got up, took my hand, and asked me to go meet his coach with him.  The rest of the tryout unfolded better than what I had prayed for as we sat on the field in that long moment of silence.  He got plenty of steals, scored 4 goals and even blocked the big shot.  His smile was unforgettable at the end of that game.  He was truly proud of himself.  I could only take him so far to believing in himself – it was my son that had to take that leap of faith that he could do it. To his pleasant surprise, he did not let himself down.  

The courageous one is not brave because he acts without fear or concern.  The courageous one is brave because he or she acts despite those fears.  My son stared his fear in the eye and moved past it.  Dare we all be that fearless. 

-Marc Lavine

“I cycle for Jen…” – Dave Linn

A message from Dave Linn…

Hello, Fearless Friends.  As Jen often said, we sometimes can’t control what happens to us, but we almost always have the ability to choose how we react to it. 

When faced with the incredible challenge of a recurrent and debilitating illness, Jen chose not to feel sorry for herself.  Instead, she dedicated her life to helping the millions of other patients affected by these so-called rare cancers. 

And now, when faced with the challenge of having lost my wife, I am choosing not to be overcome with despair (although as you can imagine, I of course have my moments of sadness).  Instead, I am trying to follow Jen’s example and dedicate my life to making sure others don’t suffer like she did. 

Today, I ask you to join me in that journey with 1 simple step – REGISTER NOW FOR CYCLE FOR SURVIVAL 2012. 

If you’d like to honor Jen’s memory, registering today is without a doubt the absolute best thing you can do.  Registration is open, and there is no better time to get involved than right now!  This promises to be the biggest & best ride in the history of Cycle for Survival, here are the dates:

Feb 4: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Long Island

Feb 11: New York City, Chicago

Feb 12: New York City, Washington DC

Jen’s and my vision for Cycle for Survival was to raise enough money to – one day – find a cure for all rare cancers.  I am determined, now more than ever, to make this happen.  Personally, I’ve been keeping myself busy these last few weeks recruiting for Cycle 2012.  From coast-to-coast, I have been calling, emailing and visiting with folks to get them on board. We’re off to a great start as several sessions are getting close to capacity, but we all need to work together to spread the word to make sure every bike is full.  

Of course, as with anything, you can always find a reason (excuse?) not to get involved.  Here are a couple we’ve heard in past years…

Objection: But Dave/Jen, I can’t ride because I’m not a cyclist.

My Reply: Perfect, because you don’t need to be a cyclist!  That’s why we set it up to be a team relay where you control your own tension & effort level.  You can push yourself as much or as little as you like.  Trust me, if you can ride a bike, you can participate in Cycle, possibly right next to Jen’s 90-year old grandma!  I know there are some of you out there who were reluctant to ride, but then did so and loved it.   If that’s you, could you please do me a quick favor and post a comment to the blog in case others have similar concerns?

Objection: But Dave/Jen, I don’t like asking people for money. 

My Reply:  I completely understand as I was reluctant to do so when we first started Cycle.  This is what changed it – since my passion for the cause was clear in my communications, not 1 person gave me a hard time about asking for money, and in fact, so many people thanked me for giving them the opportunity to help others.  Imagine that – they made the donation, and they were thanking me!  I believe many of you have had similar experiences.  If so, please post them to the blog in case anyone thinks I’m full of it 🙂

Objection: (internal dialogue in someone’s mind) But Dave/Jen, when I said please let me know if there’s anything I can do to help you, I didn’t think you’d actually take me up on it. 

My Reply:  Oops, I just got a bit off topic as that will be covered in Jen’s book (I Know You Mean Well, But).  Although, on a serious note, if you do want to do something nice to help Jen’s family or me, registering a team and raising money for rare cancer research is by far the best thing you can do.  Yes, it is better than flowers, dinner invitations, cards, and everything else.  Because as much as possible, we don’t want other families to go through this.   

So what are you waiting for?  It takes less than 5 minutes to register your team, just go to and click on the yellow Register Now button!  

MESSAGE FROM DAVE LINN – Jumping Into New Challenges

Hi Everyone!   Many of you have checked in to see how I’m doing – thank you, I’ve been so very touched by all the support.   Apologies that I haven’t been able to get back to many of you, but that’s because I’ve been staying busy, which I think is probably a good thing.   However, since many of you asked similar questions, I thought it would be helpful for me to post an update here (along with some pictures!). 

Most of you asked me (1) how I’m doing, (2) what I’ve been up to, and (3) how we can all best carry Jen’s inspiration forward.  Those seem like pretty good topics so here it goes.  As you might know, I tend to be a bit more reserved than Jen in terms of sharing info, but in the spirit of being Fearless, I will try to put myself out there with this update.  

How I’m Doing

All things considered, I’m doing OK.  Similar to what many of you are experiencing, I of course have my moments, especially when something happens I know Jen would enjoy and I’m not able to share it with her.  But as much as possible, I’m trying to take it day-by-day and focus on all the positives she brought to the world in general and to my life in particular. 

Maybe a good way to describe it – soon after Jen died, I felt 99% terrible with barely a small sliver of excitement that I’d be embarking on new challenges in my life.  But now with each successive week, that sliver of excitement grows and while I of course will always miss Jen, I am starting to look forward to the experiences, challenges, and unpredictable nature of what will happen in the coming months and years.

What I’ve Been Doing

You’ll be happy to know that I’ve been keeping busy, which helps keep me in a positive frame of mind.  Here’s a quick list of some of the highlights of the last 3 weeks.  It’s a pretty good list, I think Fearless Jen would be proud!

  • AJW Memorial Basketball Tournament – Our good friend Richard runs a charity basketball tournament in memory of his wife Andrea who died of pancreatic cancer.  Interesting side note – despite Richard’s lack of height and some would say lack of basketball skills, Jen always called him the MVP because Richard just so happened to hit his only 2 shots (I think he was 2 for 20) during the only 2 moments when Jen looked up from chatting with friends while watching us play a couple years ago.  Of course, even to this very day, Richard never misses a chance to remind me that he’s the MVP in Jen’s expert opinion!

    But back to the basketball – it’s an incredible (and exhausting!) weekend, complete with actual college basketball coaches, a full-on player draft, and a high level of ball that includes a couple ex-NBA players (for example, check out John Wallace jumping about 4 feet above the 4 “defenders” in one of the pics above).  Some of you might know that in terms of rating my hoops abilities, the nicest thing you can probably say is that I’m a pretty good soccer player.  However, after my team went undefeated and won the championship game in OT, I’m now the only player to win 2 titles in the 3 years of the tourney’s existence!  Of course this had more to do with getting drafted onto a great team than my own ability, but still, I’ll take it.  Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think MJ had 6 titles so I’m on my way.  Actually, I think Jordan’s more pedestrian teammate Jud Buechler collected 3 titles, which is probably a better comparison so I’ll shoot for that next year.  

  • Sag Harbor and East Hampton – After the hoops tourney, I was off to the beach for a week with a mix of friends new and old.  It was an incredibly therapeutic time filled with running, biking, paddleboarding, kayaking, bbq-ing, ice cream, margaritas, raft races, and as you see in the first picture above, airborne football catches while jumping into the pool.  Thanks to everyone who was there – I can’t thank all of you enough for a really special week!
  • English League soccer – Our friends Woody, Kathy, Billy and I have been talking for the last few years about doing a trip to England to watch soccer.  Jen always wanted me to go, but we could never make it work, and I didn’t want to leave during her treatments.  So it was a huge thrill when I called the crew to suggest we finally do the trip, and they dropped everything to make it happen.  It was the trip of a lifetime – we saw 4 great matches in 3 days in London and Manchester (Arsenal v Liverpool, Chelsea v West Brom, West Ham v Leeds, and Man Utd v Spurs).  We even found time to catch up with a few friends from school (Lewis Russell and Chris & Liz Hogbin) who live in the area and have always been loyal supporters of Jen and Cycle for Survival.  &nbsp

Jen and I always told each other that if either of us wasn’t around, we very much wanted the other to continue living life to the fullest.   As you can hopefully tell from these 3 highlights, I’m trying my best to do so, despite the difficult circumstances.   

Carrying Jen’s Inspiration Forward

In addition to making time for fun, I’ve spent much of my time figuring out how to best carry Jen’s work forward.  During Jen’s treatments over the last 7 years, I promised her that even if the research efforts were too late to help her, we would do everything possible to help the millions of other people affected by rare cancers.  In that vein, we absolutely must continue the great work she started, and I invite all of you to please join me in that effort.  We have decided to focus on 3 areas: (1) Cycle for Survival, (2) Jen’s book – I Know You Mean Well BUT, and (3) 

Cycle for Survival

First, some people asked if we are continuing with Cycle for Survival.  This is not even a question – Of Course We Are!  And we need to make the 2012 events the best ever so let’s start spreading the word.

Many people consistently ask if I need anything or how they can help me. The answer is simple – get more involved in Cycle for Survival so we can do everything possible to make sure people don’t have to suffer like Jen did.  And remember, it’s not a marathon or triathlon.  If you’ve ever ridden any kind of bike at any time in your life, then you can ride in Cycle for Survival and raise funds to provide treatment options for millions of patients.  There’s no plainer way I can say it.  Jen established the base, but it’s on all of us to carry it forward.

You can register your teams on the Cycle website right after Labor Day, but now is the time to mark your calendar and spread the word, especially to your friends in LA, SF, and DC who might not be as familiar with the magic that is Cycle for Survival.  Here are dates:

Saturday, Feb 4 Los Angeles, San Francisco, Long Island

Saturday, Feb 11Chicago, New York City

Sunday, Feb 12 Washington, D.C., New York City

Jen's Book

Moving to our second area of focus, you’ll recall from Jen’s posts that she was working on a book, which was to be a humorous guide to What to Say and What Not to Say when someone is dealing with cancer.  I’m very happy to report that Jen’s brother Brett is taking the lead on the book, and we will be working hard over the coming months to bring this project to fruition.  


Our third and final area is continuing what Jen called her purpose in life – to be a role model and demonstrate that anything is possible when you remove fear from the equation.  Many people tell me how much they love the site and everything it stands for.  Therefore, we will keep the site and Jen’s purpose very much alive.

Jen’s dear friend Janet Balis is the perfect person to carry the You Fearless torch so she will be leading the effort.  Stay tuned for new content, which might include an inspirational Fearless story of the month. But Janet can't do it alone…she'll need your help to find fearless stories to post.  The vision for the site is that it will become our collective place to tell stories and inspire people who would benefit from the You Fearless message.  If you have a fearless story – or know someone who does – please reach out to Janet directly at  You are the folks that will have to fuel this site moving forward. And wait for it…yes, we’re working up to a dance-off inspired by Jen’s Happy to be 40 dance!

So if you haven’t signed up yet to receive an email about new YouFearless posts, please click the purple “Click Here” button at the top of the page, and then enter your name and email address.  And please, keep posting comments as it’s often the best way for me along with Jen’s family & friends to see your support and to keep alive the spirit of You Fearless.  (Of course, if you want to send me a personal message, you can always do so at, but otherwise the posts are a great way to share your thoughts on being Fearless, memories of Jen, etc).     

And since I mentioned a dance-off, I’ll leave you with something that has helped me the last month.  If you ever find yourself sad that Jen is no longer with us, or for that matter, stressed or sad about anything whatsoever, try clicking one of Jen’s dance videos…they are guaranteed to give you a smile.  Here are the links to those 2 blog entries with the videos:

I hope all of you are smiling, laughing, traveling, trying new things, giving back, spending time with friends & family, and most importantly, living and loving as much possible!  

– Dave