To maintain social distancing and safeguard participant health during the COVID-19 pandemic, the UCI Anti-Cancer Challenge, a movement of more than 3,000 cyclists, runners and walkers who share a commitment to defeating cancer and are joint together to raise awareness and funds for cancer research, is going virtual. This year, the challenge will include an eight-week virtual fundraising and wellness program which includes virtual fitness challenges, health webinars and wellness courses.

Participants can ride, run or walk virtually with friends and family wherever they are. The funds reaised will be used for life-saving research at the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated comprehensive cancer center in Orange County, California.

“In only three years, the community has rallied to support 43 pilot projects and early-phase clinical trials that have moved the dial on cancer research,” noted Richard Van Etten, MD, PhD, director of the UCI Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center and founding director of the Anti-Cancer Challenge.

“We intend to sustain the positive momentum and fund more innovative investigations through a spectacular virtual event that offers new opportunities to be engaged and inspired,” Van Etten added.

Challending the community
“These past few months have challenged our community in many ways,” said Brian Hervey, UCI vice chancellor of University Advancement and Alumni Relations.

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“At the same time, we have witnessed an amazing generosity of spirit, particularly in health-related areas. We are pleased to offer our community a virtual program that unites us all to fight cancer and, at the same time, offers activities that benefit their personal health.”

The health-focused program begins August 8, 2020 and concludes with a virtual community celebration on Challenge Day, October 3, 2020.

Teams and individuals are invited to participate in weekly virtual fitness challenges, riding, running or walking to accumulate miles that qualify them to earn great prizes. They can also attend weekly virtual wellness classes and educational webinars, featuring renowned UCI Health faculty. On Challenge Day, participants will run, ride or walk from wherever they are—or simply take the day to celebrate the people in their lives who have been touched by cancer.

“Even if we are apart this year, our Anti-Cancer Challenge mission remains the same – to raise awareness and funds for critical cancer research,” noted Jennifer Sarrail, executive director of the Anti-Cancer Challenge.

“Community participation in the reimagined virtual event will help to make the next discovery possible. We will stop at nothing to end cancer and we look forward to connecting with many people in the coming weeks who share this commitment,” Sarrail added.

One-hundred percent of participant proceeds raised through the Anti-Cancer Challenge will fund essential cancer research at UCI Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center. There is no registration fee or fundraising commitment to participate in any 2020 Anti-Cancer Challenge activity. Registrations for individuals who signed up for the 2020 event prior to the virtual transformation will be registered automatically for the October 3 virtual program and celebration.

Featured image:  Bike riders participating in the 2019 Anti-Cancer Challenge. © 2020 UCI Health Marketing

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