Image: The Ride of Life committee with the ICR's Chief Executive, Professor Paul Workman. Credit: Rose Wu
Top researchers waved off a group of our most dedicated supporters as they embarked on a new challenge to raise funds for The Institute of Cancer Research, London.
The Ride of Life – newly launched as a sister event to our famous Climb of Life – began at our Sutton campus and saw riders take on some of the UK’s most iconic cycling routes over a challenging 100km of road.
Our group of 28 riders conquered both of the intimidating Box and Leith Hills in Surrey, which have a combined elevation of 518m, before returning home to the ICR.
The ride was so successful that the team behind it hope to turn it into a regular fundraiser for the ICR. Next year’s date has already been provisionally set as the 27 June 2019.
To support the Ride of Life and donate to the ICR please visit the team page on JustGiving's website.
The team was led by Sean Starkey and Steve Robinson, old friends of Climb of Life leader Graeme Chapman. All are leading figures in the office supply industry who have inspired their colleagues to swap their pens and pencils for pedals to benefit the ICR.
Graeme has been leading the Climb of Life – a walk up some of the Lake District’s most difficult mountains for hikers which has been going for 30 years, and has raised almost £1million for the ICR.
The idea for the Ride of Life was born when Graeme invited Sean and Steve to pair to join the walk but, being avid cyclists, they thought they would rather ride, and so the idea was born.
Why cancer research is so important
Speaking on the start line of Ride of Life, Sean said:
“I lost both of my parents to cancer – my mother when I was young. She was just 41 when she died from breast cancer. My father had bowel cancer and was 77. Cancer has affected my life so much, as it has with so many other people. This has been a huge motivator for me in organising the event.
“I have been pleasantly surprised by how many of my friends and colleagues have come out of the woodwork as keen or aspiring cyclists. The support we’ve had has been overwhelming.
“We have had other colleagues, customers, manufacturers and people from the press join us. It’s fantastic that the event has been so well supported in its first year.”
The Ride of Life was officially started by the ICR’s Chief Executive, Professor Paul Workman, who also made a speech to help inspire the riders before they took on those tough hills.
If you have been inspired by the Ride of Life and would like to fundraise for the ICR, find out more on our Sport and Challenges page.
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A huge success
So far the riders have raised over £12,500 for the ICR and, with donations still coming in, they hope to raise even more.
Steve said: “It has been an honour to be involved in this inaugural Ride of Life which has been a really exciting event. The route went through beautiful Surrey villages, climbed iconic and dramatic hills and explored some wonderful rolling countryside.
“There was great camaraderie amongst our industry colleagues and friends, and to top it off, this has been an amazing fundraising effort by all involved.”
They held a fundraising auction which included two fantastic lots – a seat in the neutral service car at a professional cycling race in 2019, donated by Brother, and a bike fitting for the winning bidder by former Swedish pro cyclist and Paris-Roubaix winner Magnus Bäckstedt.
The cyclist is himself a cancer survivor, along with his sister.
Making the discoveries that defeat cancer
Professor Paul Workman, Chief Executive of the ICR, London, said:
“It was a great honour to send off our riders on the first ever Ride of Life event for the ICR. I am delighted that Sean and Steve have decided to set up this spin-off event from the Climb of Life.
“I would like to thank them and the other riders and organisations in the office supply industry for their wonderful support towards accomplishing the ICR’s mission of making the discoveries that defeat cancer.
“Even as great progress is being made here at the ICR, there is still much more work to be done. All the money raised from the Ride of Life goes towards our vital research, so we can continue to study how cancer evolves and becomes drug resistant, and find better ways of treating the disease.”