Rapha x One More City collections raises money for research into advanced breast cancer treatments

The collection reminds cyclists of the importance of breast health with a label depicting how to check your breasts

Rapha has teamed up with one of its cycling club members to create a limited edition 'One More City' collection, with all profits going towards funding research into advanced breast cancer treatments.

One More City was created by Rapha Cycling Club (RCC) member Christine O'Connell, who was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012.

O'Connell received the all clear after six months of treatment, but six years later she was hospitalised following a seizure, and informed that the cancer had returned and spread to her brain and bones.

The seizure hit as O'Connell cycled to a meeting, she launched One More City in 2017 but in 2018 switched the focus to funding research into metastic (advanced) breast cancer. Rapha has supported the campaign for years, so far it has raised over £100,000 with its ethos being rooted in cycling: "the journey is never over; we are always progressing towards the next city, there are always more kilometres to do, more climbs to conquer and more challenges to face."

Despite treatments available for breast cancer, an estimated 20 to 30 per cent of women and men will develop metastic, of secondary disease - which is incurable. Funding from One More City takes aim at creating new drugs to combat cancer's ability to develop resistance to treatment.

All profits raised from the sale of the collection will support a new breast cancer PhD studentship at The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), in partnership with Imperial College London. This is a four year position and will require £120,000 of funding.

As well as money, the kit also aims to raise awareness and remind riders to check their breasts.

Rapha's often poetic sewn-in labels have been swapped for diagrams showing how to check your breasts, alongside the words: "Grab a handful. Curvy roads ahead."

“I’m really pleased to be part of this collection. If seeing that label reminds even just one person to check their breasts, or to speak to a family member about it, it will be worth it," O’Connell said.

“On average, someone only lives for three years after a diagnosis of secondary breast cancer, and it’s now three years since my diagnosis. I’m fortunate my treatment still seems to be working, but I know my cancer will eventually develop resistance, and that’s why One More City is focused on funding research at the ICR – so more treatment options can be found for anyone living with a secondary diagnosis.”

The design is bright, with a spring vibe. “The story label idea grew from wanting to bring some light into the severity of the topic of cancer," said Maria Olsson, who used to be Head of Design at Rapha, and came up with the design whilst working there.

"I wanted to take something that is serious and heart-breaking in many ways, and put a light-hearted spin on it. The message is the same, and the importance of being aware of your own body was the key driver, but also taking time for yourself and not being afraid or ashamed of your own body. Cycling was the natural way to connect the two.”

Dr Rachael Natrajan, who heads the Breast Cancer Functional Genomics Team at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, said: “Research advances mean more people with advanced breast cancer are now living longer with a much better quality of life. But knowing their cancer can develop resistance to treatment is a constant fear.

"We’re really grateful for the support we receive from Christine and One More City. With their help, we hope to be able to discover better treatments for people with advanced breast cancer and give them the opportunity to live the lives they want.”

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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.

Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor. 

Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.