As Workmates, we rode together to battle cancer

For the past three years, Adaptive Insights has participated in the Pan-Mass Challenge to raise money for cancer research. Each year is special, marked by new team members reaching goals they’ve set for themselves, and meeting kids whose treatment you’ve sponsored. The ride itself can be grueling, but you do it imagining how much easier it is for you to ride a bike through the rain than it is for cancer patients to ride out their illness and treatment, with the hope of reaching sunlight on the other end.

This year was special for all of these reasons, of course, but also because this was our first year riding as a Workday company. In fact, together with other riders from Workday, we were able to field our largest team ever: 16 riders, who together set a goal to raise $150,000, an increase of more than 50% from the $98,000 we raised in 2018.

The two-day, 150+ mile ride through Massachusetts is the most successful athletic fundraiser in the country, and this year it is expected to raise over $60 million to support research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Since its inception 40 years ago, the PMC has raised over $700 million to help eradicate cancer.

More than 6,800 riders took part in this year’s ride. This was my 11th PMC, and it was again memorable. We had four new riders, including three Workmates from our Boston office who joined our veteran Adaptive Insights riders.

Here are few highlights to give you an idea of what participating in this remarkable event is like:

On Saturday morning, the riders assembled for the 84-mile first day of the ride. We had four first-time riders: Kate Coveney, Wyatt McKibben, Ravi Patel, and Ben Tatkow.

These new members were joined by veteran riders Kathleen Bogan (9 years) and Javier Florez (6 years) as well as four-time riders Chris Shea, Linda Hull, Brian Willette, and Chris Canton; three-time riders Keane Johnson and Rachel Sadhwani; and two-time riders Fred Gewant, Stephanie Erickson, and Tom McDermott. Special thanks to Nancy King, who had to drop out because of injury but repurposed herself as an incredible “roadie.”

Feeling the love

On Saturday, as we rode through the early towns, we were greeted by the Stephanie Erickson fan base. At mile 25, a rider called out to me, “Workday! It reminds me my performance reviews are due. I love you guys!” He was with Bain Capital.

First-time riders are always amazed by the support along the route. As we approached the penultimate water stop of the first day, we saw pictures of the PMC pedal partners, children with cancer who are sponsored by various teams. Their pictures are spaced about 20 yards apart along the route. Unfortunately, they go on for three miles.

Our Workday pedal partner is five-year-old Danny, who was diagnosed with leukemia at age two. Last year we met Danny and his family, but his cancer returned earlier this year and Danny was too sick to make the trip. Danny, our ride is dedicated to you, and we wish you well in your bone marrow transplant later this month.

Off to an early start

On Sunday morning, we met at 5am for Day 2. It’s tougher than Day 1, with challenging hills. We felt the stress of riding hard on the first day, but we remembered the people for whom we ride.

Sign-waving spectators along the way made a great impact on us. “Thank you, I have lived the last 13 years because of what you are doing” read one, and another said, “My son had cancer at age 3, he is now 21 and a senior in college—thank you.”

The day featured more lighthearted moments too: At one point someone came up behind me and said, “Hey, Workday, you better get moving—we’re from SuccessFactors.” To which I replied, “You may kick my ass on this ride, but we kick your ass in the market.” True story—he pulled off the road shortly thereafter!

The final part of the ride is perhaps the most difficult, with hilly sand dunes and fierce headwinds. I thought of Danny, my friends, and loved ones with cancer every single pedal stroke as we pushed to the finish.

Many thanks

We finished strong, inspired by your support and determined to make a difference. This was the most important ride in our history—and we made it count.

Thank you to all our supporters and sponsors; you are amazing and we are so appreciative of all you do. We are proud of what we accomplished and could not have done it without you.

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