This week I’m inspired by two hotel industry projects raising awareness and funding to help in the fight against cancer.
Want to know what I hate more than anything else in the world? (No, it’s not airline travel, though if you follow me on Twitter, I’m sure you guessed that!). It’s cancer. I hate cancer so much. Not one of us have escaped this horrible thing; whether we have battled it ourselves, or know someone in our family, a friend, a colleague or a connection in the hotel industry who has.
I’ve had this on my mind a lot recently, as I learn about more friends and family touched by this collective giant set of awfulness. I thought about it as I sat in the audience at the recent NYU International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference and heard Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson update the crowd on his cancer fight. Today, nine years after losing my dad to cancer, I still get a boiling feeling in the pit of my stomach every time I think about it. It’s not fair; it sucks; I could (and usually do) use a whole string of swear words all in a row every time I talk about cancer.
So much about cancer renders people powerless in many ways, whether you’re the patient, the family, the friend. But I’m also a firm believer that we not let this get the best of us. There’s always something one person can do. If you know someone with cancer, acknowledge it. Don’t say “tell me what I can do to help;” instead, just do something for that person. Give a ride, a smile, a meal, a hand.
Two other things that help: Knowledge and money. Arm yourself with knowledge about what to look for in yourself and others, and stay on track with checkups. If you can give money toward research, do it. This is what funds drug trials that save lives, as just one example of where that money goes.
Why am I talking about this now? It’s because of two hospitality-related events this summer that contribute in their own ways to kicking cancer’s butt (and both coincidentally involve cycling, which is its own butt-kicker). I couldn’t be happier to tell you about them here, and I hope that if you know of others, or participate in others, you’ll share that information in the comments below this blog.
This Saturday, the RAAM High Rollers, consisting in part of Lodging Capital Partners’ Steve Kisielica and Ian Davis, kick off their 3,000-mile cross-country bike race that starts in Oceanside, California, and ends in Annapolis, Maryland, eight days later.
Yep—you heard that right. Three thousand miles. California to Maryland. My legs hurt just typing that. They’ll climb 175,000 feet and cycle across 12 states in this ultra race, pushing themselves to the limit.
The charities this team of fit guys chose to support are the American Cancer Society and The Fitler Club Foundation, and you can find out more, donate and follow their path by clicking the link above.
The other industry-specific event that tackles the fight against cancer head-on in fantastic ways is RTRX. This event, put on by Columbus, Ohio-based Rockbridge, has grown so much, and now brings people together every year to ride in the city’s Pelotonia ride, which raises funds for cancer research. Additionally, RTRX participants hear from a vastly impressive range of speakers who talk on topics of innovation, purpose and the greater good.
Since 2011, RTRX has raised more than $4 million. This year, the 8th annual RTRX takes place 31 July to 3 August in Columbus.
These are only two examples of ways the hotel industry acknowledges the universal fight against cancer we all are invested in. We of course all can help in our own ways, but I wanted to spotlight these two efforts this week. If you know people from these companies, drop them a line to say thanks and good luck. If you know Steve and Ian, maybe consider sending them some ice packs.
And most importantly, if you or your company participates in an effort to rid our planet of the cancer that is cancer, please let us know. Comment below, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me on Twitter @HNN_Steph.
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