The Power of Passion in Innovation
December 7, 2012

Working for a better life for people living with cancer and for their loved ones is the mainstay of our mission. With every new step we take, we first ask ourselves ‘What’s the benefit for the patient?’


Inspire2Live is the umbrella organization that coordinates a range of programmes and events (also referred to as our beautiful sons and daughters) designed to accomplish our mission. What began as a joke in 2006 (cycling up mount Alpe d’Huez 6 times on one day) in a mere 5 years evolved into an initiative with a EU 50 million endowment earmarked for cancer-related research and applications, 6 events in Europe and the United States and relying on hundreds of volunteers that working with passion for the patients and their loved ones. Besides these national events, Inspire2Live has set up a global initiative called Understanding Life!, bringing together the best researchers and clinicians fully committed to getting cancer under control in 10 years’ time.

Is this a simple goal? Yes it is, even though what needs be done will not always be equally easy. But ‘Never Ever Quit’ being our motto, we know one thing for sure: on 17 January 2021 cancer will be under control and people will be living Happy and Healthy lives in Harmony with cancer.

In everything we do the patient is leading. We set up projects and activities with and around the patient. We take this approach to our events but also to research projects and treatment programmes. Whatever we do, it is always a joint venture between patients, researchers and clinicians. But patients First! We connect these three groups, asking them to give the best they have and then a bit more. We will always do so independently. While aware of all the systems we are dealing with, we make sure we will never become part of them. By steering this course, we are able to choose for the benefit of the patient under all circumstances.

Now is this only possible for companies specializing in cancer care, you may wonder? Of course not. The principles of our initiative are simple and can be copied to every organisation. Let me explain this.

Always tell why you do the things you do and not just what you do. People don’t buy what you do, people buy why you are doing it. Remember that the what and the how are always debatable, but that the why never is. And there is always a why in every company. Most of the time we have forgotten this but believe me: there is.

Take to heart Mahatma Ghandi’s words: You must be the change you want to see in the world. If you want to achieve something, you must make the first step yourself and see what others do with it and how they respond. Then you make the second step, probably with one or two other people that have joined in to help you. Because they see why you do it they help you with the how and the what.

Use as few rules as possible and see to it that responsibility is borne at every organisation level, down to the lowest level. The more rules the less thinking. People stop thinking if there are too many rules. Most of the people employed at your company know better how things should be done than you know. You know why the things have to be done. Most of the people in the company love responsibility. So give it to them and enjoy an empty agenda.

Along the lines of these few principles we organized Inspire2Live, the events and the program Understanding Life! The most essential part is of course the Passion that is brought in by all the people that work in our organization. Passion for the patients and their loved ones. And we combine this with our strong motto: ‘Never ever quit!’. So if we are faced with a disappointment or failure we allow us only 5 seconds of sorrow and then ask ourselves: ‘What can I do to make it a success?’. We never complain because that’s useless. We never want to be in a position that we must explain to the patient that we stopped because of some problems that we couldn’t solve. Don’t search for a solution. Find it! And always be aware of The most urgent question in life: What do you do for other people? (Martin Luther King).

The coming years we will make the next steps. We will set up more than 20 PR and awareness-enhancing events across the world and will raise more than EUR 250 million per year, if not more. But the most important goal that we will meet is that people will lead Happy and Healthy lives in Harmony with cancer. Together with their loved ones. Because that is the essence of life: living together.