The V Foundation for Cancer Research, a top-rated cancer research charity, is excited to announce that Bristol-Myers Squibb’s 2019 Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer riders raised a record-breaking $729,358 this year. Bristol-Myers Squibb matched all funds, for a total of nearly $1.5 million for cancer research funded through the V Foundation. More than 100 Bristol-Myers Squibb employees participated in the three-week, cross-country bike ride, beginning on September 4 and covering nearly 3,000 miles from Cannon Beach, Ore., to Long Branch, N.J.
Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer rider Eric Mortenson, of Minneapolis, Minn., was diagnosed with gastric cancer in 2017. “I know what it’s like to hear the words ‘You have cancer,’ and I rode for the collective ‘us,’’ shared Mortenson. “I hope this ride results in a heightened understanding of how, directly and indirectly, we are all in this together.”
The Bristol-Myers Squibb employees who participated in the Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride were largely novice cyclists and trained extensively to prepare for the cross-country relay, during which each rider covered approximately 225 miles in three days, inspired to help achieve Victory Over Cancer®. Some of the riders, like Mortenson, are cancer survivors. Others rode for loved ones affected by the disease, such as Alka Bhatt of Newtown, Pa., who was riding for her aunt.
“Our Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer riders trained for more than five months, dedicating their mornings, evenings and weekends to this cause. On the road, they faced rain, sleet, hail and heat – and yet they persevered,” said Adam Lenkowksy, General Manager, Head of U.S., Bristol-Myers Squibb. “The reality is that this effort pales in comparison to what people with cancer experience each day. We ride with their names on our jerseys, motivating us to keep going no matter what.”
“The Coast 2 Coast ride is simply amazing,” said Susan Braun, Chief Executive Officer of the V Foundation. “Each rider has a backstory, a deeply personal reason for riding. So many are honoring the courage of loved ones, some survivors and some in memory. This year’s ride was dedicated to one such individual: Bristol-Myers Squibb employee Heidi Googe. Heidi pushed through more than 200 miles during the 2018 ride while undergoing cancer treatment, and sadly passed away just three months later. Her memory helped inspire every mile that the riders cycled in support of patients who will benefit from the cancer research the ride will fund.”
The nearly $1.5 million raised from the Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride will enable the V Foundation to invest in even more breakthrough cancer research nationwide.
For more information about the 2019 Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride, please visit cancerbikeride.org.