Placeholder Banner

Riding Coast to Coast for Cancer Patients

September 29, 2016
For 21 days in September, 80 members of Bristol-Myers Squibb’s (BMS) oncology team will cross the United States, from the Oregon coast to the New Jersey shore, as part of the third annual Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride. The goal is to raise one million dollars for Stand Up To Cancer, whose collaborative “Dream Teams” of scientific researchers are working together to accelerate cancer research and provide innovative treatment to patients faster.

At the same time, 77 BMS riders from eight EU countries will be riding from the UK across France, Spain, Italy, Switzerland and Germany, raising funds for the Union for International Cancer Control.

All of the riders, many of whom spend the majority of their time in an office and not on a bike, are committed to doing whatever it takes to help patients fighting cancer because we at BMS take this cause very personally. Everyone on these teams is riding for someone they know who has been touched by cancer.

I ride for my cousin Jackie, whose battle with cancer inspired me to dedicate my professional career to fighting cancer.

[caption id="attachment_23355" align="alignright" width="200"]"I ride for my cousin Jackie" "I ride for my cousin Jackie"[/caption]

We have all seen as professionals, and on a more personal level, the devastating impact that cancer can have on patients and their loved ones – but also the strength and endurance that they so often show.

I had the privilege of riding last year, also. It was an incredible opportunity; there's so much teamwork and camaraderie. It's sometimes very difficult out there on the road. There’s a steep hill or a headwind or it's a hundred degrees out in the middle of Kansas -- but the team comes together, we persevere, we help each other…we do all of the things that in some way all of our cancer patients are doing every single day as they persevere through their own challenges.

Our team, Coastbusters 3, has the privilege of starting this year’s ride. We’ll have the entire country between us as we stand in Cannon Beach, Oregon, with Long Branch, New Jersey, where this incredible journey will conclude on Sept. 28, far away. As we climb through coastal mountains at the start, and face even more challenging climbs as we ride into Boise, the thought of all those miles that still lay ahead of us will be equally exciting and intimidating.

[caption id="attachment_23356" align="alignleft" width="200"]Team Coastbusters 3 Team Coastbusters 3[/caption]

And just when we think that we can’t push any harder, or ride any farther, we’ll think of the cancer patients we’re riding for. Their names are painted on our shirts. Their faces etched in our memories.

We know that the pain we’re feeling pales in comparison to what they are experiencing in the infusion centers and hospitals... fighting through the effects of their treatments... fighting each day for a chance at life.

What keeps us going is knowing that not only are we riding for patients, we also work for an incredible company that is committed to helping transform the way cancer and other diseases are treated.

I think our commitment to the patients we serve is best expressed by my fellow rider Whitney, an oncology nurse: “The most challenging part of this ride will be pushing myself beyond my limits. I will rely upon the strength of the patients I cared for to overcome the urge to give up, because they never did.”

This November, BIO will host the Patient and Health Advocacy Summit, an annual event that brings together stakeholders for timely policy discussions and best practice seminars. This is the second in a series of guest blogs highlighting efforts by BIO members to bring the patient voice into the discovery, development and delivery of life-saving medicines.