Lauren Graham is an associate director of event management for Ohio State Athletics and a Team Buckeye rider. She is extremely active and considers herself an avid runner—her goal is to run a half marathon in every state. So far, she’s participated in races in eight states. This year will be Lauren’s third year riding in Pelotonia.

How did you get involved with Pelotonia?
I volunteered for the Pelotonia Opening Ceremony when I moved to back to Columbus in the summer of 2013 and was looking for ways to get involved in the community. So many people had come together that night for a cause that had recently affected my life. I loved the atmosphere and knew it was something I wanted to continue to be involved with.

After volunteering, I didn’t ride right away because I hadn’t ridden a bike since I was child. With the encouragement of some colleagues and friends who had ridden before, I decided to give it a try. My first ride was amazing! I loved being on a team of people from Ohio State who were all interested in contributing to the same cause.

What routes have you participated in?
I have participated in the 25 mile route all three years.

How do you train for the ride?
I typically train on my own. I love using training time for myself.

Is there someone who you ride for?
My mom, sister and grandmother are always at the forefront of my mind when I ride. There are also countless other family members and friends who have been diagnosed and battled cancer throughout my life who I ride for.

Can you tell us more about your mother’s and sister’s cancer diagnosis?
My mom was diagnosed with renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer, in early 2013. She had one of her kidneys removed and went into remission in November 2015. Since then, the cancer has come back and metastasized. She tries different treatment options to prevent further growth, minimize the side effects and allow her to live her life. 

My sister was diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2013. Following her diagnosis, she had an emergency craniotomy and had about 95 percent of the tumor removed. She had chemotherapy and is regularly scanned to monitor for reoccurrence. She is currently stable.

What does Pelotonia and their mission to reach a cancer-free world mean to you?
Pelotonia’s mission to reach a cancer-free world carries so much weight for me. It is the goal of so many people. Everywhere you turn, everyone you talk to, has a family member or friend who has battled or been affected by cancer.

My mom has participated in clinical trials and continues to experiment with new medications that are being developed and approved as her cancer journey progresses. Pelotonia funds directly support research that allows for continual progress toward ending cancer. 

Do you have a favorite or most memorable moment from riding in Pelotonia?
The first time riding in Pelotonia, I was blown away by the people along the route. Even in my 25 mile ride (a short ride compared to other routes), there were so many people standing along the route supporting the riders. They were holding posters saying cancer had taken their mom, dad, sister or friend. While participating in that first ride, I saw how big of a movement Pelotonia is and how big of an impact it has!

What advice can you give for first-time participants?
Just enjoy the experience! Don’t get caught up in finishing in a certain amount of time. Take the time and use the ride to reflect on what you’re doing and what you are a part of. It’s amazing!

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Whether you ride, virtually ride or volunteer, we want your Team Buckeye experience in Pelotonia to be inspiring and successful.