Bike ride from Toronto to Dorval replaced by week-long, in-community cycling with record number of employees participating
Annual event has raised close to $1.3 million for breast cancer research since 2005
Dorval, Quebec, August 17, 2020 – The 16th annual Novartis Ride for Life™ has been converted to a new format this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic with the same goal of raising vital funds for breast cancer research. This year’s virtual event will replace the traditional 600-km group bicycle ride by Novartis employees from Toronto to the Novartis Canadian headquarters in Dorval. Over the 15 years since the Ride for Life began, more than 1,000 riders have taken part and raised close to $1.3 million for cancer research, benefitting the Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation.
While the pandemic has made the long-distance ride impossible this year, the need for cancer research funding hasn’t diminished. Novartis employees were determined to develop a new format so they could meet their objectives while staying safely in their own communities. They not only succeeded; they also attracted a record 63 colleagues from across Canada to participate. When all activities and donations are tallied, the total raised this year will be more than $40,000.
From August 16 to 23, Novartis cyclists will be out riding in their home communities logging 1 km for every three dollars they raise in breast cancer research donations themselves and with help from family and friends. In total, it is expected the riders will ride about 15,000 km, with some clocking the full 600 km during the week.
“We committed to this very important cause many years ago and Novartis associates are determined to continue to help our communities in spite of the current situation,” said Christian Macher, Country President, Novartis Canada, who is among the virtual ride participants. “While I will miss the camaraderie of the ride, I am very proud of the creative solution Ride for Life organizers came up with for the ride to take place. Reimagining the way we do things to help patients is what defines us.”
Every year Ride for Life participants wear a distinctive cycling jersey to identify them while on the road. This year’s jersey highlights that even in a pandemic Novartis is still making their vital cancer research fundraising happen by sporting the slogan, “When distance tries to divide us, we make it unite us!”
The Ride for Life was started by Novartis colleagues in 2005 to go beyond their work at Novartis to help fight cancer. Many of those riding each year have strong personal connections to breast cancer. The Ride for Life is part of a bigger initiative that involves employees from across the country who are actively engaged in a broad range of fundraising events and awareness-raising activities throughout the year.
“We applaud the dedication of the Novartis team and are truly grateful they found an innovative way to continue to generate funds for our cancer research efforts, despite the pandemic,” said Karine-Iseult Ippersiel, Chief Executive Officer, Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation. “The Ride for Life has been a significant contributor to our efforts for many years but this year, more than ever, we need and appreciate the support. It’s great to see Novartis employees rallying together to help the community.”
The Quebec Breast Cancer Foundation is the only philanthropic organization whose research investments in the fight against breast cancer are exclusively made here in Quebec. Funds raised by the Foundation are also invested to support innovation, awareness, and education. For more information, visit rubanrose.org.
About Novartis in Canada Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc., a leader in the healthcare field, is committed to the discovery, development and marketing of innovative products to improve the well-being of all Canadians. In 2019, the company invested $51.8 million in research and development in Canada. Located in Dorval, Quebec, Novartis Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. employs approximately 1,500 people in Canada and is an affiliate of Novartis AG, which provides innovative healthcare solutions that address the evolving needs of patients and societies. For further information, please consult www.novartis.ca.
About Novartis globally Novartis is reimagining medicine to improve and extend people’s lives. As a leading global medicines company, we use innovative science and digital technologies to create transformative treatments in areas of great medical need. In our quest to find new medicines, we consistently rank among the world’s top companies investing in research and development. Novartis products reach more than 750 million people globally and we are finding innovative ways to expand access to our latest treatments. About 109,000 people of more than 145 nationalities work at Novartis around the world. Find out more at www.novartis.com.