Pelotonia Helps Physician Pursue Passion for Ending Cancer

Apart from caring for his wife Kari and their six children, defeating cancer is the life-passion of Theodoros (Ted) Teknos, MD.

After seeing how much Pelotonia contributes to that goal, he is compelled to do his best every year as a rider in the annual grassroots bicycle tour.

“Since it started in 2009, I have participated in every Pelotonia tour as a rider on Team Head and Neck (a part of Team Buckeye, Ohio State’s official superpeloton),” says Teknos, professor and vice chair of the Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, and director of the Division of Head and Neck Surgery, at Ohio State.

He always rides the full 180-mile circuit and annually attains the event’s “high roller” status for raising at least $4,000.

“I will ride until I drop,” Teknos says. “And then I will be a virtual rider.”

He admits that, before Pelotonia, he was not an avid cyclist. In fact, he hadn’t ridden a bike at all since he was a teen.

“I stopped riding bikes when I got my first car,” Teknos says. “I picked it up again for Pelotonia, and now I am hooked.”

Finding his way back didn’t take long.

“It was remarkably easy to get reacclimated; it was like riding a bike!” he grins. “The camaraderie of preparing with my James family made it fun.”

As each event draws nearer, he keeps to a rigorous training regimen.

“I start riding in earnest in April, primarily on weekends,” Teknos explains. “Then I step it up in the summer and take a week-long vacation to train in July.”

His wife also rides with him. “It’s a great family activity,” he says.

Teknos’ dedication to training for Pelotonia is all the more amazing in light of his demanding workload as a cancer clinician and researcher at Ohio State, where he also holds the David E. Schuller, MD and Carole Schuller Chair in Otolaryngology, and is a member of the Translational Therapeutics Program at the OSUCCC – James.

His clinical interests include head and neck cancer, head and neck benign neoplasms, skull-base surgery, microvasculature reconstructive surgery, and thyroid and parathyroid surgery. His research focuses on cancer stem-cell biology, cancer cell signaling, predictors of\ treatment response, and prevention of cancer metastasis (spread).

Teknos believes everyone who works at the OSUCCC – James benefits from Pelotonia funding, because a significant share of the money is used to recruit and retain some of the top minds in cancer research and care.

“Pelotonia funds bring tremendous new scientists to our institution, some of whom I have recruited,” he says.

Teknos considers Pelotonia “a life-changing experience.”

“There are few times in life when you know you are participating in an event that is pure and good,” he says. “By taking part in Pelotonia, you really feel the generosity and power of our community.”

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