Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=209612
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Kelsey McQuade/MEDILL

Women from the Luna Chix run team gather at Universal Sole in Lakeview for their last run of the season Wednesday night.


Luna Chix Chicago raises research funds and heart rates

by Kelsey McQuade
Oct 25, 2012


LUNACHIX_flyer

Team Luna Chix

The goals and history of Team Luna Chix. Click on the image to enlarge.

One national group with a base in Chicago fights to keep women cancer-free and active. Luna Chix Chicago gives women team support for mountain biking, triathlon training, cycling and running as a way to promote cancer-free good health.

Out of the 260 members of Team Luna Chix, 18 women train in Chicago and the rest in the other 20 chapters across the U.S. Ten of those women participate on the Chicago run team and eight on the Chicago triathlon team. Despite different ability levels, there are common goals that keep these women training together.

The Chicago run team brings together a group of women with a love of running and a focus on fun, said Sophia Kaylani, head of Team Luna Chix, based in San Francisco.

“Running together is their way of staying active, sharing stories and enjoying some “me” time,” Kaylani said. They run twice a month and new runners are free to join this and the other team.

Women ages 24-56 make up the Chicago triathlon team.

“During the course of the season, they hold weekly group runs from a local running store, weekly no-drop bike rides from a local bike shop and occasional clinics to promote LUNA and nutrition for women athletes, as well as provide expert advice from our unique women's perspective,” Kaylani said.

A primary goal of the triathlon team is to provide an informative, safe and non-intimidating environment for women who are interested in learning about the sport.

The main events in the 2012 season included the SheRox sprint triathlon in Naperville in June and the Venus di Miles bike ride in Lake Forest in July. The Chicago chapter also hosts a number of workouts, clinics and fundraisers.

Chicago attorney Mishele Kieffer co-heads Luna Chix Chicago. She is a five-time marathon runner and sees the team as a way to maintain that level of running.

“I moved to Chicago a few years ago and didn’t have the same group of friends, but I wanted to connect with women who ran and were more social and less worried about the competition,” she said.

And while women are encouraged to just show up for the weekly runs, there are requirements to remain a member of the team, including networking on social media and fundraising for cancer research.

The team is very active on social media and members are required to contribute through Facebook and Twitter posts, said Kieffer.

“We go to a couple of races a year with a booth to hand out bars, tell people about the team and fund raise,” Kieffer said.

The fundraising minimum is $1,000 and for the Chicago teams as a group and individual team members who attend social events and exercise clinics - in addition to the team events - make a suggested donation. The most lucrative fundraiser takes place in November - a social with wine and appetizers and a raffle.

Luna Chix Chciago has raised $800 so far this year and hope to raise more after the final event. All of the money raised goes directly to the Breast Cancer Fund, Kieffer said. The breast cancer organization is more focused on prevention and research of prevention

“There are a stunning number of cases in women who don’t have traditional risk factors who are faced with breast cancer,” Kieffer said.

The Breast Cancer Fund and Luna have worked together since 1999 to advocate prevention in cancer. Together they have created the Pure Prevention campaign to bring awareness about the environmental causes of breast cancer and keep women living happily and healthy, according to the Pure Prevention website or the cancer fund.