Participating in the Enbridge Ride to Conquer Cancer is no small feat. The fundraiser, which spans more than 200 kilometres between two cities in locations across Canada, requires riders to be mentally and physically tough, pushing past burning legs and searing lungs.

For Daniel Goulet, a Molecular Solutions Product Manager in our Diagnostics division, the choice to do the ride from Montreal to Quebec City this weekend is easy. His father was diagnosed with melanoma three years ago and currently lives with the disease, and the physiotherapist for the football team he coaches has breast cancer.

“Riding 200 kilometres and fundraising is nothing compared to the fight faced by people with cancer and their families,” he says. “My family has experienced cancer first-hand. It’s important to set a good example for my three kids and to do something outside of my comfort zone.  It’s challenging but it gives me an opportunity to show them that you can make a difference.”

Unfortunately, Daniel’s story is all too familiar. Cancer touches everyone. We’ve all experienced a loss of a loved one, a dear friend, or know someone in the fight of their life. According to the Canadian Cancer Society, nearly half of Canadians are expected to be diagnosed with cancer at some point in their lives and one in four Canadians is expected to die from the disease.

The Roche Canada family was devastated by the passing of one of our own last week. Soula Stavropoulos, who had been with our company since 2006, lost her battle to cancer. She will be remembered by her colleagues as a friend and a loving mother of three, whose life ended far too early. To honour her life and her legacy, her teammates have renamed the Roche ride in Quebec “Soula’s Ride.”  This tragic loss strengthens our resolve to fight cancer and reminds us why we come to work each day.

As a leader in oncology, we’ve watched the cancer landscape change because of investments in research.  About half of all cancers can be prevented and the outlook for people with the disease continues to improve. Because of investments in cancer prevention, early detection and treatment, the overall survival rate has increased from about 25% in the 1940s to 60% today. We know how important it is to fund this important work, and we’ve seen the impact it’s had on Canadians fighting this disease. Over the past eight years, 70 employees from our Pharmaceuticals division in Mississauga have participated in the Ontario ride in support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. In the past four years, 57 participants from our Diagnostics division in Laval have supported the Jewish General Hospital’s Segal Cancer Centre through the Quebec ride.

In addition to supporting these world-class institutions, the journey creates camaraderie between team members. As Daniel explains, ”It’s a way to meet colleagues and get to know people we don’t typically have the opportunity to work with. When I see a fellow rider in the hall at the office, there’s a familiar connection because we’ve gone through the experience together.”

While each person rides at their own pace, the team stops five kilometres before the finish line to wait so they can cross the line as a group. Success is not about speed or time; it’s about finishing the ride together in solidarity for those family and friends who battle cancer every day.

Ride participants at the finish line

July 7, 2017

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