One biking team departed from Cannon Beach

By Lyra Fontaine

Cannon Beach Gazette

This month, a team of oncology employees from pharmaceutical company Bristol-Myers Squibb embarked on a mountainous bike ride from Cannon Beach to Boise, Idaho.

The team that kicked off in Tolovana Park on Sept. 7 was one of six that are cycling 450 miles each. The entire ride, called Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer, covers about 2,800 miles.

“We are doing it to raise awareness for cancer research and generate funds,” oncology sales vice president and team cyclist Stefan Hendriks said. “Going through challenging experiences with others creates extra memories. At the same time, it’s part of our goal to allow more memories for patients.”

The teams hope to raise $1 million to “bring science and better solutions” to patients, Hendriks said. Bristol-Myers Squibb will match each dollar raised up to $500,000.

The ride brings oncology employees from different institutions and disciplines together. The end destination, where all groups will meet, is the Jersey Shore. The team chose to start in Cannon Beach for its lodging, beach and biking-friendly environment.

“Many don’t have any biking experience and had to train,” Hendriks said. After undergoing about five months of training, he was excited but “a little anxious” on the day before departure.

Most riders have a personal connection with cancer, whether it affects their family or friends.

Hendriks is riding for a family member of his childhood friend in the Netherlands, who is currently suffering from cancer. By completing the bike ride, he hopes to support his friend from a distance.

Proceeds from the ride go to the Stand Up to Cancer organization. Visit cancerbikeride.org for more information or to make a donation.

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