PELOTONIA RIDERS REAP RICHES OF THE ROAD FOR CANCER RESEARCH
Almost 5,000 riders and some 1,700 volunteers joined forces to ensure the success of Pelotonia 11, which had raised nearly $9 million for cancer research at the OSUCCC – James at the close of the weekend bicycle tour between Columbus and Athens on Sunday, Aug. 21.
Fundraising will continue through Oct. 21, but preliminary tallies indicate this year’s Pelotonia revenue will push the three-year total for this grassroots extravaganza to more than $21 million. Last year’s tour generated $7.9 million after the inaugural Pelotonia in 2009 raised $4.5 million.
Pelotonia 11 attracted riders from 38 states and four nations. More than 1,000 riders constituted Team Buckeye, the official Ohio State University super peloton (riding group). Team Buckeye was composed of students, faculty, staff, alumni, family members, friends and fans of Ohio State ages 14 and older who are unified in the cause against cancer. They rode in several smaller pelotons within the Team Buckeye super peloton.
Karl Koon, director of development/Pelotonia at the OSUCCC – James, says Team Buckeye consisted of 1,068 actual riders, 378 virtual riders and 116 volunteers for a total membership of 1,562 people.
All Pelotonia riders and volunteers were bolstered by a spirited Friday night opening ceremony on the lawn of Chemical Abstracts Service that included remarks by Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee, OSUCCC Director and James CEO Michael A. Caligiuri, MD, Pelotonia Executive Director Tom Lennox and guest speaker Nancy Snyderman, MD, a head and neck cancer surgeon at the University of Pennsylvania who is also chief medical editor for NBC.
“The rides you’re making and the funds you’re raising are for humanity, and we thank you for that,” Caligiuri told the riders, explaining that money generated by this event advances cancer research that is being translated to innovative treatments at the OSUCCC – James.
Caligiuri said Pelotonia revenue is also helping the University recruit and retain “superstars” in cancer research while giving student researchers opportunities that they would not otherwise have had to explore their ideas with faculty mentors.
“We have many bright young minds here who, in this economy, had no chance of receiving external funding for their cancer research ideas,” Caligiuri said. “But since all of you have stepped up, we have taken some of the money you’ve raised and started a Pelotonia Fellowship Program that has provided 120 students with money to pursue their ideas.”
He noted that approximately 60 fellowship recipients were in attendance at the ceremony and asked them to stand for applause. “This is the generation that’s going to bring home the cancer cures and prevention strategies,” he said.
Gee also thanked riders and volunteers, reminding them that, through their collective Pelotonia efforts, they too are contributing to cures.
“We are going to cure cancer at Ohio State. That’s our calling, that’s our duty, and that’s our goal,” Gee said. “Thanks to all of you for your generosity, and thanks also to all of the cancer patients and survivors just for being an inspiration to us all.”
Tom Lennox, executive director of Pelotonia, acknowledged the event’s major funding partners (Huntington, Limitedbrands Foundation, Peggy and Richard Santulli), supporting funding partners (American Electric Power Foundation, Nationwide Insurance) and notable funding and venue partners (CardinalHealth, Chemical Abstracts Service). Their generosity, he said, “enables every penny collected (through rider pledges and other donations) to go to cancer research at the OSUCCC – James.”
Snyderman told the audience that the number of participating riders from so many distant locales “shows you that Pelotonia rocks.”
The central challenge, she said, is to “take cancer and turn it upside down and sideways and make it curable or treatable as a chronic illness like diabetes or arthritis, and not a death sentence.”
Earlier that day, Snyderman had met with scientists at the OSUCCC – James and visited some of their research labs.
“I can assure you, from what I saw today, that your money is going to science and not being used for just one more research building,” she said. “All of your hard work (through Pelotonia) means that cures are in sight. The researchers I met here are looking at everything. They are talking across platforms, sharing information, kicking the ball forward.”
PELOTONIA 11 RAISES A RECORD $13.1 MILLION
Pelotonia 11 riders and donors raised a record $13,108,639 for cancer research at the OSUCCC – James, a 68-percent increase over the 2010 fundraising total of $7.8 million.
The 2011 total was announced at a Nov. 10 check presentation and celebration that was attended by more than 1,000 Pelotonia supporters at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion, 405 Neil Ave. Pelotonia staff presented the check to Ohio State University President E. Gordon Gee and to OSUCCC Director and James CEO Michael A. Caligiuri, MD.
From Aug. 19-21, 4,986 riders from 38 states and four countries rode up to 180 miles on one of four routes during Pelotonia 11, an annual grassroots bicycle tour that was started in 2009. The three-year fundraising total is approximately $25.47 million.
Every dollar raised by riders, virtual riders and donors is invested in research initiatives at the OSUCCC – James, a distinction made possible by Pelotonia’s generous funding partners: Limited Brands Foundation; Huntington Bank; Richard and Peggy Santulli; American Electric Power Foundation; Nationwide Insurance; and Cardinal Health Foundation. Pelotonia also benefits from in-kind donations made by numerous locally and nationally based companies, and from the services of some 1,700 volunteers who helped out in 2011.
“I am deeply grateful to all of those who were part of Pelotonia’s remarkable success,” Gee said. “Few forces are mightier than when people come together in good will to fight a common cause. And I can think of no nobler cause than curing cancer through funds raised in Pelotonia.”
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of Pelotonia riders, donors, sponsors and volunteers, all of the money raised by Pelotonia will help fund ‘high-risk, high-reward’ innovative cancer research at Ohio State,” Caligiuri said. “Some of our most recently funded research projects include team science awards with experts from disciplines across the University working to make discoveries and explore novel therapies for treating blood, breast, liver, prostate and skin cancers.”
“Our community has stepped up beyond even the most optimistic expectations. From riders and funding partners to volunteers, each is doing their part to end cancer,” added Tom Lennox, executive director of Pelotonia. “The passion of this group will not be denied. A cure will be found sooner because of their commitment.“
Pelotonia dollars support a variety of research projects addressing all aspects of cancer, from diagnosis and treatment to psychosocial issues and prevention. A Pelotonia Fellowship Committee awards grants to distinguished student scientists at the undergraduate, graduate, medical school and postdoctoral levels who want to work with faculty mentors on cancer research. And Pelotonia “idea grants” provide seed money that enables multidisciplinary teams of investigators to engage in “high-risk, high-reward” projects that generate data so they can later apply for larger grants from the National Cancer Institute.
Projects currently funded by idea grants include: the early detection and prevention of pancreatic cancer; tests to determine the most effective therapies for triple-negative breast cancer; influences of heredity in cancer development and possible new prevention and treatment strategies; and the development of a new drug to fight breast cancer and leukemia.
Funds have also been committed to recruit and retain the best minds in cancer research to Ohio State, and to purchase sophisticated equipment that helps the more than 270 scientists at the OSUCCC – James conduct their research. For additional details, visit http://tiny.cc/xfeqp