Five years ago, Fred Hutch took fundraising efforts to the next level with the establishment of Obliteride, an annual bike ride and 5k walk that has raised more than $13 million for cancer research at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center since it began in 2013.
This year, the event is expected to bring in more than 2,500 people to participate in the 25-, 50-, or 100-mile bike ride — or, for those who prefer a slower speed, a 5k walk. Among those participants are employees of tech and biotech companies — think Amazon, Microsoft, and Facebook — who contribute through riding, walking, volunteering, and donating.
“Since the very first year of Obliteride, Microsoft employees have participated in a big way where they have fun, build community, and raise critical funds for cancer cures,” said Microsoft team captain David Powell in a statement. “Microsoft and Fred Hutch are also collaborating to develop technology to help cancer patients avoid the emergency room through better management of their chemotherapy side effects.”
This year, Powell’s Microsoft team has already raised almost $140,000 for cancer research. Amazon expects to have 200 employees walk, ride, or volunteer at the event; the company will also sponsor Obliteride’s program of 800 volunteers who are critical in the event’s success each year. Vice president of the company’s worldwide commercial sales Mike Clayville, who spearheaded Amazon’s involvement, lost his wife to cancer and believes Fred Hutch can be the team to find a cure.
Sponsors ensure that every penny raised from the event goes directly to funding cancer research. In the past, Obliteride dollars have gone toward research on immunotherapy, cancer prevention, and breast, lung, ovarian, and prostate cancers.
“We greatly appreciate the support of our state’s tech and biotech companies,” said Obliteride director Andrea Gomes Morrison in a statement. “Teaming up with innovative companies like Amazon, Microsoft, and many others will help with Fred Hutch’s drive to develop curative therapies for most cancers by 2025.”
This year’s Obliteride takes place in Seattle this Saturday, August 11. A kickoff party for riders, friends, and family members will be held the evening prior in Gas Works Park. Online registration is now closed, but those still interested in participating can register onsite on Friday or Saturday.