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Guest Blog: National Brain Tumor Ride Co-Chair Reflects on the Event’s 30th Anniversary

Published on April 8, 2024 in Gray Nation Endurance, Event Participant, Fundraising

Guest Author: Michael Corkin

In a photo from the 1990s, a man and woman stand by a bicycle at a brain tumor research fundraiser.

In 1994, a handful of families impacted by brain tumors founded what would eventually become the National Brain Tumor Ride. Three decades later, the National Brain Tumor Society (NBTS) will host the 30th annual National Brain Tumor Ride — the signature event of Gray Nation Endurance® — on Sunday, May 19, 2024. 

As we near this milestone event, National Brain Tumor Ride co-chair and NBTS board emeritus member Michael Corkin reflects on his 30 years of riding to fuel the breakthroughs ahead.

The first ride in 1994 was shortly after my daughter Lindsay underwent surgery for a brain tumor. I was asked to participate in what was going to be a new fundraising event for a small organization, which later became the National Brain Tumor Society, to fund research in the brain tumor space. I borrowed a bicycle and trained for the 50-mile ride. In those days, it was only 25 or 50 miles! I arrived at the starting point, the former Ski Market Warehouse, along with 50 other riders, and proceeded to ride a route that was very similar to the one we ride today.

A group photo from an early National Brain Tumor Ride event

That ride was my first entry into what was then the Brain Tumor Society. Meeting everyone and hearing stories similar to what our family was going through was something special. I got more involved the next year and became chair of the event, as I had been the leading fundraiser the year before. Back then, being chair of the event meant schlepping supplies for event day and making sandwiches the day before for all the hungry riders. It became very important to me to get involved with this organization, and I proudly served as a member of the board of directors for over 20 years.

Two men stand next to a bike at the 2023 National Brain Tumor Ride.
Michael, right, at the 2023 National Brain Tumor Ride

Fast forward 30 years to 2024, our collective efforts have raised over 20 million dollars toward the NBTS mission, hosted thousands of participants, and brought together individuals who have now become family. Who would have imagined that a ride that started 30 years ago with just a few families and two folding tables would have had so much success and become such a large part of NBTS?  

I am proud to say that I have been one of the few who has been here for all these years and have even been honored with an award named after my family — the Corkin Family Commitment Award! It’s true that this event has evolved, but even more importantly, NBTS as an organization has evolved and grown into an organization that has done and continues to do so much for the brain tumor community in so many ways. I am proud to have been a part of it all!

Register for the National Brain Tumor Ride

Join Michael and hundreds of cyclists as we celebrate the 30th annual National Brain Tumor Ride on Sunday, May 19. You can ride in person in Waltham, MA, or participate virtually from your own neighborhood or stationary bike. We aim to collectively ride 94,000+ miles on event day in honor of the 94,000 Americans who were diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2023. 

Your participation and fundraising efforts will help advance brain tumor research, support patients and their caregivers, and advocate for lasting change.

Sign Up Today

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