The most important meal of the day just got serious. Pancakes for Pelotonia is Saturday, April 30, 2016, from 8 a.m. to noon in the John L. and Christine Warner Library and Student Center, 1219 University Drive, Newark, Ohio at The Ohio State University at Newark.
“We all know somebody that has been affected by or has cancer. If you don’t, it could happen tomorrow to you, your child or your parent. It’s because of past supporters that cancer patients receive the best treatment available,” said Kelli Swackhamer, academic advisor at Ohio State Newark. “Pelotonia is different than most organizations in that 100% of every donation goes straight to cancer research at Ohio State.”
The pancake breakfast includes sausage and juice or coffee. Family-friendly games will be held outside the Warner Center (or will be moved indoors in case of rain). Donations support Ohio State Newark’s peloton, Team Buckeye-Rolling for a Cure, riding in Pelotonia on August 5–7, 2016.
Swackhamer is registered for her third ride in Pelotonia. She has done the 50- and 75-mile routes and plans to ride 100 miles from Columbus to Gambier this year. She rides in memory of her cousin and for many family, friends and coworkers. When making a list of all those she knows affected by cancer, she realized two things: the list is long and consists mostly of survivors.
“I am motivated because people are staying alive,” Swackhamer said. “That is a result of people beforehand funding cancer research. That shows we are making a difference, even though it seems small at the time.”
From the riders wearing “survivor” jerseys to wheelchair-ridden patients lined up to cheer, riding in Pelotonia can be an emotional experience. Swackhamer’s most memorable experience, however, came during her first ride.
“I was nearing the halfway mark for my ride, and I began chatting with another rider for several miles,” Swackhamer recalled. “She said, ‘I’m riding for myself’ because she had just finished chemotherapy. Not only that, her mom had cancer. We never even knew it; she was just trucking along.”
In her first two rides, Swackhamer has raised $3,500. Her goal this year is $2,000. This is something she says she never could have done on her own.
“I’m thankful I get to make this sacrifice of riding 100 miles in one day simply because I can. I can’t take the cancer away, but I can do this. I can raise money.”
In its first seven rides, Pelotonia has raised more than $106 million for cancer research. Riders, virtual riders and volunteers raised a record-breaking $23,659,675 during the 2015 event where 7,981 riders and more than 2,700 volunteers from 40 states and 10 countries participated in routes that ranged from 25 to 180 miles, starting in Columbus and finishing at one of four destinations. Pelotonia directs 100 percent of every dollar raised to cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James).