The Fireflies West Take Off in 2011

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This Friday, Sept. 23, will mark the kickoff of the 4th annual Fireflies West cycling ride, the American companion to the European ad industry's cycling ride to benefit leukemia research. The Fireflies, who include many advertising industry professionals, will depart from the San Francisco offices of Goodby, Silverstein & Partners, for a six-day, 550-mile ride down the coast to The Mill's Los Angeles office.

Riders include Phillip Detchmendy, exec. producer and managing director at commercial production company Alive and Well, who has previously participated three times on the West Coast and twice in Europe, as well as Mick Ebeling of The Ebeling Group, a second-timer who lost his father to leukemia five years ago. Experienced rider Bryan Farhy, EP at Believe Media and one of the founders of the West Coast ride who lost his mother to the disease, is also participating, along with founding member Jake Scott of RSA and many others.

Rich Silverstein, co-founder of Goodby, said his agency will mark the send-off from the parking lot with bagels and support. "The Fireflies are an inspiring mix of ad industry competitors who ride together for a wonderful cause, and we are honored to do our part," he noted in a statement.

Fireflies riders finish in Santa Monica in 2010
Fireflies riders finish in Santa Monica in 2010

The European ride began in 2001, with an eight-day ride from Geneva to Cannes. Supported by RSA and the Mill, the European ride has raised nearly $2 million for the Leuka Charity, which helps support the Hammersmith Hospital in London for leukemia treatment and research. The stateside version's benefits will go to The City of Hope Hospital in SoCal, a sister hospital to Hammersmith.

If you don't want to (or are unable to) come out for the full ride, you can join in on the last leg from Ventura to L.A. as the cyclists make their way to the arrival party at The King's Head Pub. You can also donate on the Fireflies West website.

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