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Hospitality veteran embarks charity cycle challenge to raise funds for Al Jalila Foundation

Guido De Wilde

Hospitality veteran and former COO at Marriott International, Guido De Wilde, is gearing up for a new fundraising cycling challenge that aims to strengthen the fight against cancer in the UAE.

Taking place from May 2nd to May 8th, 2022, the self-funded, seven-day ‘Cycle Against Cancer’ journey will cover 1,200km with over 14,000m of elevation – going from Belgian Waterloo to the Lombardian city Bergamo, through four countries: Belgium, France, Switzerland and Italy.

The scenic but very challenging route will cover historical sites and other places of interest such as the town of Bastogne in Belgium, Verdun in France, Lucerne in Switzerland and Bergamo in Italy – the latter being famous for its rich cycling history.

All proceeds from the ‘Cycle Against Cancer’ initiative will be donated to Al Jalila Foundation who are establishing the first comprehensive cancer charity hospital in the UAE.  The Hamdan Bin Rashid Cancer Charity Hospital will provide cancer care services for those who are unable to afford quality healthcare – including the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of various kinds of cancer. Al Jalila Foundation remains committed to accelerating cancer research and providing cancer treatments for individuals unable to afford quality healthcare.  The foundation also recently opened the Majlis Al Amal, a unique cancer community center dedicated to cancer patients and their well-being.

The launch of the cycle challenge follows De Wilde’s own battle with the disease when he was diagnosed with stage four bowl cancer in 2019.

“From the day I was diagnosed with cancer, I had complete trust in the medical team and facilities here in the UAE, which motivated me to start my treatment as soon as possible. I was extremely well taken care of by a great multi-discipline team of surgeons, radiologist, oncologist, hematologist and gastroenterologist complemented by a caring nursing team. I will be forever grateful,” says Guido about his own journey towards healing from the condition.

“As well as raising money for a worthy cause, the ‘Cycle Against Cancer’ sends a message of hope to other cancer patients and survivors that there is a healthy life after cancer. I hope it inspires others to get over the initial shock of the diagnosis and stay positive with an “I will get over this” attitude.  For me, cycling allows me to stay healthy whilst also relieving stress at the same time. It played a big part in my recovery,” he adds.

Even before being diagnosed, cycling has always been a major part of De Wilde’s life.  He co-founded the Road to Awareness charity campaign in 2008 during his time with Starwood Hotels & Resorts, which he then continued during his tenure with Marriott International.  The anchor activity for the campaign was always cycle challenge and since inception of the initiative, De Wilde and colleagues together cycled over 6,000 and close to 50,000 height meters over 13 editions and raised over USD 10 million for UNICEF and various charities in the region.

Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO of Al Jalila Foundation, commended Guido on his noble efforts “Guido has been a friend and ambassador of Al Jalila Foundation for a long time and under his leadership Marriott UAE raised millions to support our programs. Guido is a cancer survivor and knows first-hand how a cancer diagnosis can change your life in an instant. We are delighted to be the chosen charity partner for Guido’s ‘Cycle Against Cancer’ fundraising challenge. With the increasing number of cancer cases annually in the UAE, Al Jalila Foundation aims to provide relief in the way of medical assistance to patients in need. Through the establishment of the Hamdan Bin Rashid Cancer Charity Hospital our vision is to redefine cancer care to transform the lives. It is through the support of partners and community members like Guido that we can make this dream a reality.”

For those looking to support the initiative and Al Jalila Foundation, please visit the following link: – Launching at 6pm on 11th April, 2022

For more information about Cycle Against Cancer, please contact Guido De Wilde
[email protected]
+971 50 552 4905