"Think positive and put a smile on your face: even with cancer, you can still be happy!"
These are the wise words of Magda Prokopowicz, who in 2009 was inspired by her personal experience with cancer to start Rak'n'Roll, a foundation with the goal of improving the quality of life of patients with the disease. The name literally means to roll away cancer.
The initiative runs adventurous and unconventional campaigns, many of which involve cycling, to raise awareness and convince those living with cancer that they can be happy and enjoy life despite their diagnosis.
In the 10 years since Rak'n'Roll has been established, the main goal has been to change the way we think about cancer by breaking the taboo surrounding it, by spreading positive energy and supporting patients who are facing the same challenges that Prokopowicz endured.
One of the incredible activities started by the foundation is Rolling2Zwrotnik: an 8,000km cycling relay from Warsaw to the Tropic of Cancer in the Western Sahara. 'Zwrotnik' is the Polish word for 'Tropics', and in-keeping with the significance of the destination, participants in the expedition are all cancer survivors.
The Rak'n'Roll cycle track was first completed in 2012 after a 110-day biking relay that passed through eight countries. For the journey's return in 2019, a team of 32 cancer survivors and 21 support-team members tackled the challenge, each taking on one of the twelve stages of the diverse route.
After four months of constant relay, the group achieved their mission; with the final cyclists crossing the last leg from Agadir, Morocco, to the Tropic of Cancer, on the 19th December - just in time to recover for the holidays!
The journey was particularly special as it celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Rak'n'Roll foundation, which has no plans to slow down any time soon.
Prior to the event the route was calculated with extreme accuracy to use as many long-distance cycling sections as possible.
Monitoring expedition progress is hard work, due to the terrain and constantly changing location. Oracle Consulting (OC) partnered with Rolling2Zwrotnik to help provide a service that allowed cyclists to be monitored throughout their journey.
Aleksandra Kuna, project manager for Rolling2Zwrotnik, said, "Cooperation with the Oracle Team was a great experience for us."
"They figured out how to help the Rolling2Zwrotnik project, gathered a team of people with great knowledge and experience, who are committed to their work," Kuna continued. "They fulfilled each of our needs so that the application and map were perfectly suited to the Rolling2Zwrotnik project."
With the help of Oracle Autonomous Database and IoT experts from OC, including the Digital Experience team, were able to write a special system for the project. This customised solution allowed for real-time view of various aspects including weather and location, creating an overall update to determine the current situation of the cycle.
Using geolocation technologies such as GSM network for data transmission and a satellite telephone system whilst travelling through the desert, data was able to be continuously collected. This information was then sent to the system, supported by Autonomous Database to ensure automatic storing and processing of data in the cloud, and allowed further analysis for reporting.
A mobile application was also introduced, designed to be used on the device of the cycling leader, which provided a digital map, weather reports and a section for route comments to be logged. The diverse stages completed in the race were specifically incorporated to showcase local history and culture.
The combination of cutting-edge technology with the importance of the foundation's philosophy created a connected and enhanced event for both participants and those following the race.
The cycle was held as an expression of the participants' strength, energy and joy for life since overcoming their illnesses, and Rak'n'Roll hope it will leave a legacy to inspire others going through the same thing, encouraging people to follow in their footsteps (or rather cycle trail) in the future.
"We couldn't have wished for better cooperation during the Rolling2Zwrotnik project. We knew that with Oracle Consulting we would get to the Tropic of Cancer easily," said Kuna. "We could count on the Oracle team 24/7. We hope for another cooperation on our upcoming projects."
All images courtesy of Rolling2Zwrotnik
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