By Wakisha Bailey

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a big day for the American Cancer Society. Thousands of cyclists pedaled their way to Atlantic City for the 50th annual Bike-A-Thon Bridge To The Beach on Sunday. 

Racers were up early at 6:30 a.m. on a ride that took them from Philadelphia all the way to Atlantic City. The 66 mile course ended at Bader Field. 

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Chris Bassach, a cancer survivor, led the pack of 2,000 riders at this year’s event.  They were followed by sponsors. 

“Three years ago, I was racing professionally on a team based out of Doylestown,” Bassach said. “In December of that year, I found out I had a really big brain tumor. Since then, I’ve had three brain surgeries and just finished radiation at Penn Medicine.”

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This is the 50th year for the American Cancer Society Bike A Thon and some riders have been a part of this amazing cause since the beginning and we’re told the fundraising always pays off. 

“We have a handful of riders who have been riding all 50 years,” Paula Green, the vice president of development with the American Cancer Society, said. “Many riders who have been riding 20, 25, 30, 40 years. It’s incredible. We estimate there’s been about 100,000 participants in Bike-A-Thon over the last 50 years.”

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Over the years, the ride has raised more than $30 million for cancer research.

Wakisha Bailey