For the 10th year, more than 126 Bristol Myers Squibb (BMS) employees cycled nearly 3,000 miles cross-country from September to early October. The goal was to raise $1 million – and awareness – in support of the V Foundation for Cancer Research in a global event known as Coast 2 Coast 4 Cancer (C2C4C), with BMS matching contributions up to $500,000.
This year, for the first time, a hand cyclist participated during the U.S. event on the route from Denver, Colorado to Topeka, Kansas. Samantha Good, VP Global Alliances at BMS, was a swimmer, triathlete and runner when a 2019 accident paralyzed her from the waist down. For this ride, Sam acquired and trained on a handcycle – where the rider reclines, and all propulsion comes from the arms and torso turning cranks similar to those on a bicycle.
Making a Well-Intentioned Ride More Accessible
“I wanted to demonstrate what is possible,” Sam said. “That it’s possible to be inclusive and have different ways to do this ride.”
Sam was inspired to join a large group of dedicated BMS employees raising money for cancer research and dedicating the large amounts of time necessary to be able to conquer a 200+ mile segment of the ride in three days, before seeing the next team take over.
“My ‘why’ is for family and friends newly diagnosed, those who have lost the battle, as well as the survivors,” she added. “In particular, my strong and courageous father-in-law, who was given seven years to live and is in year eight. When I told him about the ride – I could see tears welling up. My incredible husband trains with me; my kids, I know they’re proud of me; and when it gets really hard, I think about my family and friends affected by cancer.”
Sam’s role at BMS concentrates on building relationships and collaborations with outside partners whose focus is on development of treatments for hematology and oncology – that could benefit our patients.
“I love building relationships,” she said. “Every partnership is different and whether it’s in early research or development, I like the challenge of cultivating every single partnership."
Enjoying challenges and having a goal-focused mentality has always been front and center for Sam in her life as well as in her training during her handcycling career, which has also included participation in the New York Marathon in 2021 and 2022.
“When I set a goal, develop a plan and with the team execute against the plan to reach the goal, that's where it's really fulfilling,” Sam said. “Sometimes it's in a community setting like C2C4C; a lot of the time it’s in business and sometimes independently, but what really matters is striving towards that goal.”
Raising Funding While Raising Awareness
Sam is effusive about her experience participating in C2C4C and hopes that it will help open the door in the future for others, including those with disabilities, who may be hesitant to try something new. She is especially thankful for her coaches and team.
“The coaches have been amazing,” she said. “They understand the differences and needs between someone on a bike and a handcycle. They understand the non-visible disabilities which simply means I have different needs. And my whole team has been amazing when it comes to listening, adapting and supporting.”
Read more about the culture within BMS, what it’s like to work here, and explore open roles today at career.bms.com.