June 4 is National Cancer Survivors Day, and thousands across the globe will connect with each other in honor of both those we lost to the disease and those who have survived it.

Cancer is a personal battle for many of us – with the increase in cancer cases each year, it is likely that we all have a friend or family member who has been affected by cancer.

In fact, having just lost a dear friend to cancer, this battle has definitely hit home for me. I experienced firsthand the overwhelming feeling of helplessness. When we lose people dear to us it always leaves us speechless and feeling powerless. However, it can fire up our deepest instincts and motivate us to help others. By transforming this emotional turmoil into concrete, impactful actions, we can come out of that state of helplessness and feel empowered again.

SAP Cares Deeply About Cancer

My colleague, John Matthews, is getting ready to undertake the most challenging journey of his life — all in the memory of his mother who passed of lung cancer in 2011.  John’s initiative Ride Hard. Breathe Easy. is much more than a bike ride through the United States, it is a way for everyone impacted by cancer to join in and make a difference. It is a whole movement seeking to emphasize the importance of access to quality cancer research (including prevention and treatment) and, equally crucial, to end the stigma associated with lung cancer.

Although we haven’t found the ultimate cure to cancer yet, it is essential to acknowledge the many recent advancements in getting closer, “one mile at a time.” The healthcare market is now continuously being transformed by new precision medicine breakthroughs, showcasing the disruptive power of big data. More and more patients turn towards individualized cancer treatments enabled through new technologies that turn big data into smart data.

Our corporate vision at SAP is to make the world run better and improve people’s lives.  Naturally, we are committed to contributing to the fight against cancer. At the World Economic Forum in Davos last year, our CEO Bill McDermott acknowledged that fighting cancer is essentially a data challenge. Initiatives like Ride Hard. Breathe Easy. inspire us to further drive our technological achievements at SAP. To maximize our impact, we collaborate with partners like the NCT (National Center of Tumor Diseases in Germany) and ASCO (American Society of Clinical Oncology).

CancerLinq and COPE Make a Difference at SAP

Resulting co-innovations like the CancerLinQ platform, which aggregates data from millions of patient records to enable personalized treatments, demonstrate the potential of big data analytics for healthcare. Another milestone of SAP’s advancements in precision medicine is the Corporate Oncology Program for Employees (COPE).

Supported by SAP HANA, COPE offers eligible SAP employees access to precision medicine through an in-depth molecular-medical analysis aimed at helping physicians make better-informed treatment decisions. Beyond the technology, SAP understands the daily struggles faced by employees afflicted, directly or indirectly, by cancer. Therefore, a global employee assistance program is also available to provide support and help employees to surmount the everyday challenges related to this disease.

Good Luck John!

On behalf of the entire SAP Global Health Management team and the many dedicated SAP colleagues who are supporting him in this journey, we appreciate John’s dedication to the cause of cancer research and wish him all the best for his ride through the U.S. He has already created a wonderful momentum of education and inspiration. Like John, we believe that together, we can change the course of cancer!

Natalie Lotzmann is chief medical officer, SAP Global Health Management

This story originally appeared at www.ridehardbreatheeasy.com