Past editions of the Country 2 Country 4 Cancer (C2C4C) bike ride saw employees of the US pharmaceutical company and UICC partner Bristol-Myers Squibb ride some 3,600 kilometres through Europe to raise money for cancer research and patient organisations.
In 2019, six teams of staff members from 15 countries rode in support of a dozen cancer organisations who are members of UICC. With UICC assisting in the coordination and promotion of the event, more than US$130,000 were raised, with funds matched by Bristol-Myers Squibb.
As the coronavirus spread around the world in early 2020, however, it became evident that – like so many other in-person events – the C2C4C bike ride could not be held this year.
In 2019 the BMS C2C4C ride raised an incredible £46,815 for Maggie’s West London. This amount paid for our Maggie’s centre to open for over 19 days. At the end of last year we were seeing between 120-140 visitors a day to our centre, which means the incredible amount fundraised supported over 2,340 visitors. The support from BMS means we can continue to provide free cancer support to anyone who needs it through qualified Psychological support, Benefits Advice, Cancer Support and our group support sessions.
– Helen Muir, Centre Fundraising Manager
This comes at a time when cancer organisations have seen their funding severely disrupted. In response, many are relying on digital tools to develop innovative ways to fundraise, such as using health and fitness phone apps to convene people virtually and provide a collective goal (“walk around the world!”). But for most, the inability to hold in-person events has made it very challenging to raise sufficient funds to cover their on-going programmes and activities.
It is therefore highly welcome to learn that Bristol-Myers Squibb has generously decided to maintain its pledge to cancer organisations this year and donate a similar amount as last year. This will provide relief to essential programmes that support cancer patients with guidance and information, provide research, dispense treatment and care – and otherwise contribute to easing the burden of cancer.
Beneficiaries include SMILFonden, Aktiv mot kreft, Cancer Society of Finland, Blodcancerfonden, Irish Cancer Society and Maggie’s Centres, the European Cancer Patient Coalition, Darmstadt, the German Cancer Society, Multiples Myelom Selbshilfe Österreich, Fundación Sandra Ibarra, Laurette Fugain and AIMAC.
In addition to the company's support of cancer organisations and in place of the C2C4C ride, Bristol Myers Squibb is encouraging some 30,000 employees worldwide, along with their familes and patients, to show solidarity in face of COVID-19 by collectively "moving for minutes" over the course of Global Patient Week, 1st to 4th October. This can mean walking, cycling, swimming, volunteering, or any other physical activity they feel most comfortable performing.
For each minute moved, Bristol Myers Squibb will donate $1 to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies and the American Red Cross, with an ultimate goal of one million minutes.