02/08/2012 04:28 pm ET | Updated Apr 09, 2012

Fight Cancer, Ride With Chicago Bear Robbie Gould

More than 50 percent of all cancer diagnoses in the United States are classified as rare.

Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Yet, the research to prevent and cure the debilitating variations of cancer is often underfunded, leaving patients with limited treatment options and a bleak chance of survival. Not too long ago, Emma and her family experienced the crippling effect cancer has on a family.

At just 5 ½ weeks old, Emma was diagnosed with retinoblastoma -- a rare eye cancer. The Chicagoan received chemotherapy and multiple laser surgical procedures. She was in remission for just a short while when the tumor reappeared. In an effort to save her eye, Emma and her family made the trek to New York City where she underwent two more major surgeries and chemotherapy. Miraculously, the surgery -- which was only offered at Memorial Sloan-Kettering at the time -- saved her eye.

Emma has been in remission now for over three years and finally has the life her parents dreamed for her when they first brought her home from the hospital. Drawing on Emma for inspiration, Emma's Eight -- the number of rounds of chemotherapy she underwent -- was formed.

Emma's Eight will be riding in the Cycle for Survival when it rolls in to Chicago on February 11, 2012. Cycle for Survival is a global indoor team cycling event to fund research into treatments for rare cancers, such as pancreatic, ovarian and pediatric cancers. In just five years, Cycle has raised more than $12 million and funded more that 25 clinical trials and research studies, led by memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center -- a global leader in cancer research and treatment -- and benefitting patients worldwide. Unlike most events, 100 percent of contributions and donations raised are allocated to research projects led by Sloan-Kettering within six months.

Join Robbie Gould, place kicker for the Chicago Bears, and others on February 11 at Equinox The Loop on West Monroe Street to ride with Emma's Eight in Cycle for Survival.

For more information, please visit Cycle for Survival.

Andrea Metcalf is a healthy lifestyle blogger, fitness expert, best-selling author of Naked Fitness and producer and host of Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is based out of Chicago

Andrea Metcalf
Author of Naked Fitness
Be Healthy Be Moved
NBC Chicago Fitness Club
Anytime Fitness Anytime Health Expert.
Contributor Better TV, Today Show, GMA Health, Huffington Post,
Twitter @andreametcalf