NEW ALBANY, Ohio — The 11th Annual Pelotonia took place the first weekend of August. The three-day event raises money for cancer research in central Ohio.
Riders in the cycling event have brought in over $14 million so far this year and $198 million since the event began in 2008. Every penny goes to the cause. What do the participants all hope to accomplish? One goal: end cancer.
Pelotonia’s website details the history, stating:
Founded in 2008, Pelotonia was established with the objective to fund life-saving cancer research. Pelotonia is a three-day experience that includes a weekend of cycling, entertainment, and volunteerism. Through its first ten rides, Pelotonia raised more than $195 million for cancer research. Thanks to its generous funding partners, Pelotonia is able to direct 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar to cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.”
Cathi Nelson (pictured above) has biked in the annual event every year until this one. An unexpected surgery side-lined her, otherwise she would have been cycling with her friends. She chose to be a “virtual rider” for the first time, raising money but not cycling. A two-time cancer survivor herself, she’s involved to support people with cancer and fund research.
“The thing that sets this event off from other events is that 100% of our money goes to the James Cancer Research Hospital – it stays in central Ohio,” she shared with The Ohio Star. “I am on the Huntington Team. I have to raise money in order for me to participate, but I ride for the people who I love that have cancer. I’ve had several people pass away – I ride for them. There are people that I call warriors right now that are battling cancer – I ride for them.”
Nelson pointed to the impact the Pelotonia has made. Their money is paying for research into blood, brain, breast, ovarian, and thyroid cancer. They award fellowships to Ohio State students who want to study cancer at the university’s hospital. One of those fellows developed a new way to beat multiple myeloma.
“With the support of a Pelotonia Fellowship, Tiffany, who works in the lab of Dr. Don Benson at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center (OSUCCC), is working on a drug that shows great promise in unleashing natural killer cells on multiple myeloma (MM), a blood cancer similar to leukemia and lymphoma,” the group’s website said.
Another cyclist, Randy “RJ” Rentz, was invited to ride by a co-worker in 2013 but it took him two years and some jarring news to commit.
“My mother had battled lung cancer and ended up having 1/3 of her right lung removed. Thankfully she is a survivor and celebrated 11 years of remission this year. After receiving news from 3 friends in the same week that they were recently diagnosed with some form of cancer, I made the decision I was ‘all-in’ with Pelotonia,” Rentz said. “This disease was not going to get my children, friends, or family – and this was the push I needed to make the decision to participate.”
Rentz has ridden with three different teams and as far as 200 miles. This year he chose the 135-mile trip and joined the “Riding in Stile with Maria and Kelley” team. He had a great time and enjoyed his new group.
“At the end of the weekend, it doesn’t matter what team you are on. Everyone is working toward the same goal,” he said.
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