Hospitality Veteran Guido De Wilde Announces Charity Cycle Challenge To Raise Funds For Al Jalila Foundation in the UAE.

17

Following his own battle with stage four bowel cancer, Guido De Wilde is now calling on people to support him in a new charity initiative to raise money for Al Jalila Foundation.

Dubai: 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.”

About Guido De Wilde

Guido De Wilde worked in the hospitality business for nearly 40 years. He started with ITT Sheraton in 1983 and held various management positions in Bahrain, Morocco, Germany, Belgium and Portugal.  De Wilde was the Area Manager for Starwood in Portugal and General Manager of the prestigious Pine Cliffs Resorts which operates under the Luxury Collection brand, before moving to the Middle East with Starwood in January 2006 where he held the position of Senior Vice President, Regional Director. De Wilde joined Marriott International at the time of the Starwood acquisition in September 2016 as Chief Operating Officer for the Middle East.