Inside look at a record fundraise for the 2021 C2C4C ride

Participants in the BMS-sponsored C2C4C ride rode in teams and developed strong bonds that provided invaluable support in difficult moments
7 October 2021

Two participants from the Belgium/Netherlands and UK/Ireland teams share their motivation for this year’s edition of the C2C4C ride, organised by Bristol Myer Squibb, which generated nearly USD 600,000 in donations.

Some 150 individuals cycled collectively nearly 3,000km across seven countries in the Country 2 Country 4 Cancer ride (C2C4C), a fundraising event organised by UICC partner Bristol Myers Squibb in support of cancer research and European cancer organisations, almost all of whom are members of UICC. They raised a total of nearly USD 300,000, which marks a record in the event’s six-year history. Bristol Myers Squibb generously matched the funds raised and donated an additional USD 300,000 to be distributed among the European cancer organisations selected by the teams.

Marlet Kuis, C2C4C participant, External Partnership Manager at Bristol Myers Squibb

Marleet Kuis, C2C4C participant 
Bristol Myers Squibb employee

UICC is immensely grateful to Bristol Myers Squibb and the employees who participated in this ride to provide much-needed funds for cancer organisations that are struggling amidst the pandemic. Indeed, the necessary measures to contain the spread of COVID-19 has challenged traditional fundraising sources and caused considerable disruptions to the delivery of cancer services.

All participants are employees of Bristol Myers Squibb. They rode in relay from 3 to 20 September, each section spanning three days and approximately 350km – often on hills – for the benefit of 12 charities

Marlet Kuis from the Belgium/Netherlands team and Lisa Evans from the UK/Ireland team were two of the riders who share here their motivation, preparation and experience of three days cycling. Marlet joined Bristol Myers Squibb five years ago and currently works as an external partnership manager in Oncology. Lisa has been working at Bristol Myers Squibb for just over six years and is Senior Regional Business Manager in the UK and Ireland Cardiovascular team.

“A lot of precious people around me have been affected by cancer and some of them, including a dear colleague, recently passed away. With the C2C4C event, I felt like I was contributing of myself in their honour, while fundraising for the greater cause. There is still so much work to do in oncology.”
Marlet Kuis, C2C4C participant, External Partnership Manager at Bristol Myers Squibb

Marlet and Lisa both admitted to feeling nervous before the event began. For Marlet, it was the hills: “Our ride was in Belgium: 350km with 4,400 meters of climb over three days. Unfortunately, we do not have any hills in the Netherlands, so we were training on flat terrain.” For Lisa, it was more fundamental: she had never ridden a road bike before. “I followed the coaching plan that I was given and I kept the faith that, if I did everything I was asked through the training, I would be able to complete the ride. I was often very tired during the training, but my reason ‘why’ was always the thing that kept me motivated.

A special programme was designed by Walton Endurance, whose coaches provided guidance and inspiration to the riders during their months of training. The event itself was also supported by the Iconic Adventures logistics team.

Riders of the Netherlands team in the C2C4C ride huddle in front of church to cheer other riders

Cycling in a team was key to helping Lisa and Marlet enjoy and finish the ride. It required developing a sense of trust. Strong bonds were quickly forged, however, and these helped them stretch their limits – “helping each other, motivating each other and sharing emotions together,” as Marlet says.

Lisa Evans, C2C4C participant, Senior Regional Business Manager in the UK and Ireland Cardiovascular team at Bristol Myers Squibb

Lisa Evans, C2C4C participant
Bristol Myers Squibb employee

“I really wasn’t expecting the amazing bond and friendships that we actually formed during the event. The connection of the team to support each other on the ride and drive as much fundraising on behalf of our chosen charity has been amazing. When the mountainous terrain became too much, we were all there to support each other with words of encouragement, cheers and massive hugs.”
Lisa Evans, C2C4C participant, Senior Regional Business Manager in the UK and Ireland Cardiovascular team at Bristol Myers Squibb

While their rides were blessed with generally good weather and stunning landscapes, Marlet and Lisa both encountered their fair share of doubts and difficulties in the form of hills and climbs – or “terrain features”, as Lisa and her teammates referred to them to feel better about the fact that there were very few flat roads. For Marlet, it was a long 9-15% climb up the Stockheu hill, at the top of which stands a statue of legendary cyclist Eddy Merckx. For Lisa, it was the Pen-Y-Pass alongside Mount Snowdon. In the end, it was these moments that formed the highlights of their experience.

“I am so proud of all the people who made this ride possible. To the team who supported us, our sponsors who believed in us and all the colleagues who finished as one team. We have worked and trained hard to raise funds and I hope that with this effort, we can make a difference in patient’s lives. I now go to work with renewed energy and a big smile on my face.
Marlet Kuis, C2C4C participant, External Partnership Manager at Bristol Myers Squibb

Lisa and Marlet expressed immense gratitude for the opportunity to participate in the C2C4C ride. They are also particularly thankful to Bristol Myers Squibb for making it possible and allowing them to experience what can be achieved collectively.

“I’ve cried or laughed so much in such a short period of time and I constantly found myself moving quickly from one emotion to another. The C2C4C tagline of this being “more than a bike ride” is accurate and I think this year was even more poignant given what we have experienced on a global scale.”
Lisa Evans, C2C4C participant, Senior Regional Business Manager in the UK and Ireland Cardiovascular team at Bristol Myers Squibb

Watch the video - "More than a ride"

 

Last update: 
Monday 18 October 2021
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