Teamwork is a big part of WEX culture, and it’s a unifying force behind 23 WEXers who are training for the July 23 Tri for a Cure, Maine’s only all-women triathlon to benefit the Maine Cancer Foundation. In its 10th year, the event consists of a USA Triathlon (USAT) -sanctioned 1/3-mile swim in the waters of Casco Bay, a 15-mile bike ride and 3-mile run along the Maine shoreline. This year, seven WEX women will individually tackle all three legs of the race, while the remaining 16 have joined forces in eight teams in which members share the swim, bike and run portions of the race.
“Our team is named ‘Tri for Clare’ in memory of my Mom who passed away on May 2 of this year after a multi-year battle with ovarian cancer. Cancer is simply evil and steals away too many, too young,” shares Annie Drew, a member of the Tri for Clare team and VP, corporate compliance and enterprise risk at WEX.
Inspiration. Motivation. Teamwork.
Every member of our WEX team has a story about why she participates and how she’s getting ready for race day. For Sarah Nash, a client relationship manager, the enthusiasm and camaraderie of last year’s WEX team inspired her to get off the sidelines and join in on the fun. A company Splash, Flash and Dash team has scheduled weekend bike rides to help train, and Sarah notes that “working out in a team environment is not only a great way to push yourself past your limits, but also helps you get to know your colleagues better!”
This year will be the third Tri for a Cure for Katelyn Gendron, an organizational development specialist, who races individually to honor her grandmother who died of lung cancer. “Throughout the training journey, I’ve appreciated the amazing WEX team that has supported me along the way with helpful tips and fun training sessions. As amazing as the actual race day is, I’ve enjoyed every second of training – building relationships and creating memories I’ll forever cherish with fellow racers,” she says.
Raising Awareness and Funds
This is the 10th year that WEX individuals and teams have participated in Tri for a Cure, with WEXers racing as well as raising funds. As a company, we’ve supported Tri for a Cure since 2011, and have been the presenting sponsor since 2015 with a commitment through 2018. Corporate sponsorships like ours cover the costs of the event, allowing the Maine Cancer Foundation to commit 100% of the charitable donations raised by the event and participants to go toward cancer programs.
“Tri for a Cure is a magical event and has become the largest, single-day fundraiser in the state. With the second-highest cancer rate in the United States, it’s imperative that we join together to improve the health and well-being of our families, friends and neighbors,” says WEX CEO Melissa Smith. She also notes that the event is a natural fit for WEX as it allows the company to support the Maine community as well as our corporate health and wellness objectives.
Why We Tri Harder
This year, over 1,300 women are expected to participate in Tri for a Cure – including cancer survivors and women racing in support and memory of loved ones. According to statistics from the Maine Cancer Foundation, Maine residents have been hit especially hard by cancer:
- Maine has the highest cancer rates in New England
- 1 in 4 people will receive a cancer diagnosis in their lifetime
- Cancer is the #1 killer in Maine
- Half of all cancer deaths could be prevented
The fundraising goal for the 2017 Tri for a Cure is $1.75 million, with the ability to make online donations to individual racers and teams. Look for a post-Tri update here, where you’ll hear more from our WEX athletes and get highlights of the event. WEXers will be out in force on July 23 to participate and cheer on racers because, in the words of Gendron, “individually we can create a splash, but together we can create tidal waves that fight cancer here in Maine.”