On Friday, June 1, 2012 the VMware Burlington Staffing and GSS teams partnered together for the Heart and Stroke Big Bike event in Burlington, Ontario. Hosted by the Heart and Stroke Foundation, the Big Bike event helps raise awareness and funds for heart disease and stroke research. The Big Bike holds twenty-nine people and VMware was able to fill two bikes for this event. This was a history-making event as VMware was the number one company for fundraising in all of Halton, Ontario! It was a wet and rainy ride as Burlington received 40mm of rain in a six hour period, (It felt like all 40mm came during the ride) but one which we certainly we will never forget. 


To learn more about this event, we sat down with VMware employees and Co-Captains for VMware’s participation in the Big Bike, Jonathan McDonald and Marvin Marcos to learn more about what it took to make our participation possible.

What was your involvement in the Big Bike Ride for Heart & Stroke?

“I have been involved for the last few years with Marvin as a Team Captain for our Big Bike Teams. This year’s event was the first time we have ever had more than a single bike in a year. Although much of the same planning took place, it was on a much larger scale. This involved everything from recruiting the fifty-eight people we needed to join as riders, collecting and organizing the shirts, to motivating our co-workers to get out there and fundraise. Although there were some stressful moments, it was all worth it in the end when we got to the venue and actually participated in the ride.” -Jonathan McDonald – Senior Technical Support Engineer

“I have helped organize the Heart and Stroke Foundation Big Bike event since its inception five years ago. Throughout the past five years, VMware has raised more than $35,000 for an excellent cause that affects us all. This year we were able to break two records during the Big Bike event. Not only did our team ride two big bikes, but we also raised nearly $12,000. This is the most funding we have raised …so far. A special Thank you go to my Co-Captain Jonathan McDonald as well as Brian Ferguson.  I’ll work side by side with these guys anytime.” -Marvin Marcos – Technical Support Engineer

What did you enjoy about participating in this event with your VMware colleagues? 

“It is a great team building exercise and a great way to get the Heart and Stroke’s message out there. From obtaining approvals from management to recruiting fellow employees to participate in the event, we were able to work with people that we do not normally have the opportunity to work with on a regular basis in the office. The whole event helps build the morale of the people who participate. In the end it strengthens our teams, as it is easier to collaborate with people that you know!” -Jonathan McDonald – Senior Technical Support Engineer


What are your thoughts on the VMware Foundation's Service Learning program?

“I love it! The fact that VMware allows and encourages us to take the time out of our busy days to help out in our communities is amazing! I have never worked for a company prior to VMware that has such a strong Service Learning Program.” –Jonathan McDonald – Senior Technical Support Engineer

“I am very grateful and proud to be working for a company that has a Service Learning Program. As Jonathan mentioned, we are all busy, but with something such as the VMware Foundation’s Service Learning program, I have the opportunity to connect with a much wider audience when I get to be involved with charity work.” -Marvin Marcos – Technical Support Engineer


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