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Emily Jacobson’s 6YCLE Fundraiser Raises Over $20,000 to Support Patients at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital

Her work as a physician assistant in pediatric cancer care inspired choice of charitable organization

In 2021, Emily Jacobson, PA-C, joined Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN). After graduating from DeSales University with a master’s degree in physician assistant studies, the 25-year-old joined the pediatric hematology oncology team at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital, caring for children with cancer and sickle cell disease.

“I have a passion for taking care of people in their most challenging times. I want to be a partner to families experiencing one of the worst things that they will ever have to go through as a family,” Jacobson says. “We ask our families to do some of the hardest things and they always rise to the occasion.”

Parents stay by their children’s side as they undergo lumbar punctures, bone marrow biopsies and chemotherapy. Treatment can last up to two years, taking a toll on families’ emotional and financial health.

“Seeing those kids smile and the families shed tears of joy when their treatment is completed – there are no words to describe that feeling,” Jacobson says. “I am in awe of their courage and resilience.”

Picking up speed

Throughout her life, Jacobson has been a competitive athlete. As a kid growing up in Rhode Island she ran track and field and continued with sports in college. After joining LVHN, she discovered 6YCLE studio in Allentown.

“I fell in love with the intensity of the workout, the message and the community that 6YCLE has grown over the past couple of years,” Jacobson says. “I have become really close with this amazing group of people.” 

The cycling studio, opened by Emma Lacey in 2021, offers spinning classes that go beyond the traditional spin class. 6YCLE classes incorporate motivational music and choreography with crunches and hand movements. Jacobson loved the workout so much she became an instructor and now teaches three classes a week.

Putting a positive spin on cancer care

Last year, Lacey approached Jacobson about organizing a fundraiser to take place at the studio. “We wanted the money to support families during this very difficult time, so we chose the Pediatric Cancer Foundation of the Lehigh Valley (PCFLV) Family Assistance Fund at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital,” Jacobson says.

“We had so many people just show up to donate and ride on an empty bike, which was incredible. It was way more successful than I had hoped it would be.” - Emily R. Jacobson, PA-C

Started in 2018 through a gift from PCFLV, the PCFLV Family Assistance Fund supports families receiving care at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital. Sometimes parents are unable to work because they must care for their children. The fund provides much-needed financial relief for electric bills, transportation to and from the hospital, meals and other necessities.

A high-energy success

On a cold day in November 2023, more than 100 people came out to participate in the fundraiser. To kick off the event, Emily, a pediatric patient who recently completed her treatment, and her mom, shared their success story.

“Because of how cold it was outside, I was expecting maybe 20 people would show up and that we would raise about $5,000,” Jacobson says. “The first year you do anything, you hope people show up.”

The fundraiser involved a six-hour cycle ride. Thirteen teams with six people on each team participated in the event. Each team member rode two 30-minute rides. Three teams from LVHN showed up, other teams came from the 6YCLE community and members of the community not involved in health care.

“We had so many people just show up to donate and ride on an empty bike, which was incredible. It was way more successful than I had hoped it would be,” Jacobson says. “People were so supportive and jumped in feet first and said, ‘Let’s do this.’”

At the end of the day, the event – which included a raffle and silent auction – raised $20,877 for PCFLV Family Assistance Fund at Lehigh Valley Reilly Children’s Hospital.

“We are looking to make it bigger and better next time,” Jacobson says. “Caring for pediatric cancer patients is truly my whole world. I believe it’s why I was put on this planet. To see so many people that I care about and that I spend so much time with come together for this cause is truly amazing.”

The next 6YCLE fundraiser will take place in September 2024 to coincide with Pediatric Cancer Awareness month. This year, the event will last 12 hours because so many people have already expressed interest. Every level of fitness is welcome.

“Every day I am in the presence of amazing parents and kids and I am so blessed and honored to be part of their care,” says Jacobson.

The 6YCLE studio is located at 3116 West Washington Street in Allentown. To learn more about the studio and events, visit 6YCLE Allentown on Facebook and 6ycleallentown on Instagram.

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