Walkers’ bike riders raise $55k to fight Leukemia

| 24/06/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Islands sports news(CNS): By completing the endurance challenge of riding 100 miles through the Sierra Nevada mountains around Lake Tahoe, a team of cyclists from Walkers have raised over US$55,000 for a charity to defeat blood cancer. The 13-strong team from Walkers took part in ‘America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride’ around Lake Tahoe, Nevada, to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on 6 June 2010. So far, Team Walkers have raised US$55,807.91 thanks to the generosity of many staff members at Walkers as well as family, friends and members of the community in Cayman. It was a real team effort by Walkers, who were riding in the event as part of a major client’s team, with senior partners of the firm riding alongside lawyers, managers and support staff.

Team Walkers consisted of Nancy Lewis (Team Captain), Grant Stein, Ian Ashman, Mark Lewis, Rolf Lindsay, Shelley Lindsay, Caroline Williams, Glen Inanga, Colette Wilkins, Victoria Hew, Sarah Priaulx, Donna Harding and Wade Tamasa.

"It was a truly fabulous experience which has left us feeling energised and inspired," commented Nancy Lewis, Chief Executive Officer of Walkers Global Holdings. "We are delighted to have raised so much for such an important charity and I’d like to thank everyone in the firm and all our friends for their donations, support and encouragement. Many of us have friends or family members who have beenaffected by this dreadful disease or other forms of cancer and everyone on our team had their own personal reasons for taking part. It was a particularly incredible effort from those in our team who were doing this ride for the first time."

Three of the Walkers team, (Nancy Lewis, Grant Stein and Mark Lewis), took part in this event last year, however a number of the riders were considerably less experienced and they put in a huge effort in negotiating the steep hills and highways around Lake Tahoe, as well as the months of training beforehand. The team completed a number of long training rides in Cayman, however, these were in sharp contrast to the series of demanding peaks of the 100-mile course, where the altitude ranges between 6,300 feet and 7,100 feet above sea level, with numerous rolling ascents and descents adding up to over 4,400 vertical feet of elevation gain.

"For a first timer, it was very difficult to prepare for the hills, although some members of our team took spinning classes which would have helped," said Victoria Hew, Director of Human Resources at Walkers. "For me it was the fear of the unknown which made it quite daunting, but the altitude didn’t cause me too many problems. Completing the last 20-miles, where there were a succession of very steep hills, was just sheer determination and it really depends upon whether you are the type of person that just doesn’t give up or not."

The great spirit of camaraderie among the 3,000 people taking part in the event helped to encourage the Walkers riders, as did the cheering crowds from the sidelines, as well as the picturesque lake and mountain views. "The scenery around Lake Tahoe was so inspiring and the view was just unbelievable," said Wade Tamasa, Operations Assistant with Walkers. "For me, it wasn’t only about doing the ride but also being able to support such an important cause. I would love to do this again next year and I’d like to thank the partners of the firm for giving me the opportunity."

All of the members of Team Walkers managed to complete the 100-mile course, taking between 6.5 and twelve hours to do so. Some of the team had to battle through severe cramp in order to finish, while punctures were an annoyance for others. In addition to finding the stamina and strength required in their legs and core muscles, one of the challenges for the team was keeping together with so many other cyclists on the road. The members of Team Walkers stood out from the crowd, however, as each of them had a Cayman Islands Blue Iguana soft toy attached to their helmets as a mascot. "The iguanas sparked a lot of confused questions about Godzilla and dinosaurs which gave us the perfect opportunity to explain to our fellow riders about the Cayman Islands and the Blue Iguana Recovery Programme – everyone loved it," said Sarah Priaulx, Associate with Walkers.

The bike ride was organised by Team in Training (TNT) which puts on various endurance events each year, such as marathons and triathlons, providing specialist training programmes to help people raise money to beat blood cancers. There were 1,300 TNT riders taking part in the event, collectively raising over US$6 million for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Team Walkers believes that this is a worthy cause to support because should anyone in Cayman be unfortunate enough to require such treatment, in most cases the care they receive will be in the US. Over the past 13 years, nearly 18,000 people have taken part in the Lake Tahoe bike ride, raising total funds of US$62 million.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the world’s largest voluntary health organisation dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. Its mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since being founded in 1949, the Society has awarded more than US$680 million in research funding.

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman Islands sports news

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