Bristol Myers Squibb employee Mark DeLong is joining more than 230 of his colleagues in Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer, an epic ~3,000-mile cycling event on two unique routes (~6,000 miles total) to raise funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. Like many of the riders, DeLong has been personally affected by cancer – first when he lost his 16-year-old son Peter to Ewing’s sarcoma, and years later when he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of prostate cancer himself. The ride begins from Cannon Beach, Ore., and concludes on Oct. 1 in Long Branch.
“While my son is no longer with us, his spirit and outlook that helped him bravely fight his cancer battle remain with me, and I know every day is an absolute gift,” said DeLong. “I try to give back where I can, for every patient who may need the breakthroughs that come from cancer research.”
Each year, the goal of the Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride is to raise funds for the V Foundation for Cancer Research, a charitable organization dedicated to achieving Victory Over Cancer®, to support groundbreaking research that aims to make a profound difference for patients and their families. The money raised is matched dollar-for-dollar by Bristol Myers Squibb, with a maximum donation of up to $500,000.
“Patients are at the center of everything we do, and as we work to drive progress in cancer research, we know we can’t do it alone,” said Adam Lenkowsky, senior vice president, general manager of U.S. Cardiovascular, Immunology, and Oncology, Bristol Myers Squibb. “The V Foundation has been a longstanding partner of Bristol Myers Squibb and we are proud to catalyze their efforts to fund game-changing research and all-star scientists to accelerate victory over cancer and save lives. Personally, I’m riding for my father-in-law who lost his battle with lung cancer.”
Since the 2020 Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer ride was postponed due to COVID-19, a record 18 teams are participating in this year’s ride with the 2020 and 2021 teams riding concurrently – one on a northern route and one on a southern route – all meeting at the New Jersey shore. Given the evolving COVID-19 environment, Bristol Myers Squibb has kept riders’ safety a top priority, allowing participants to train virtually and will adhere to COVID-19 guidelines along the ride routes.
The Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer tradition began in 2014 when a group of oncology employees in the U.S. were compelled to do more for those impacted by cancer. Since then, more than 530 Bristol Myers Squibb employees have volunteered their personal time to fundraise and extensively train for the ride, resulting in more than $7.15 million for cancer research. Some of the riders have been diagnosed with cancer, while others are riding in honor of loved ones affected by the disease.
“People living with cancer faced a year of unprecedented challenges, while the disruptive impact of the COVID-19 pandemic threatened the innovation researchers have worked so hard to advance,” said Shane Jacobson, chief executive officer of the V Foundation for Cancer Research. “Now more than ever, the ongoing fight against cancer depends on groundbreaking research and sustained collective action. We are committed to funding the scientists working at the front lines of cancer research and honored to receive such meaningful support from Bristol Myers Squibb.”
In addition to Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer in the U.S., the Bristol Myers Squibb global workforce demonstrates its long-standing commitment to cancer research with Country 2 Country 4 Cancer (Europe). After four successful years of the effort abroad, more than 150 Bristol Myers Squibb employees will set out to ride in-country routes in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France, Spain, Belgium, and the United Kingdom, for nearly 3,000 kilometers total this September. This epic cycling event will raise funds for cancer research and European cancer organizations who are members of the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC).
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