COLUMBUS, (WCMH) – Nearly 8,000 cyclists are gearing up for Pelotonia 2015.
It’s the 7th year for the grassroots bike tour that has raised over $90 million for cancer research at the James Cancer Center and Solove Research Institute.
They came by the thousands to Columbus Commons for Friday’s kickoff, drawn to this event for one purpose.
“It’s part of a spiritual event and I have to do it” said Michael Blumenfeld, who will be riding in the morning.
“A pseudo-brother of mine passed away from brain cancer three years ago, so ever since then I’ve been trying to kick cancer’s butt” said rider Carly Schade.
This was a party for everyone who will be riding.
Saturday, they will ride. Some have been training all year for this one weekend, others just get on a bike and take off.
It can be a ride they finish in two hours, or a ride they finish in two days.
The entire time on two wheels, there will be thoughts of their friends or family or themselves and why they are here.
So many have been touched by cancer, or touched by someone who has cancer.
“Right now I’m tumor-free, but I’m on a chemotherapy drug twice a day” said Kim Derr, who has been fighting cancer for two years.
“I ride because when I attack the hills, I know it’s not as tough as what other people do in life attacking cancer” said Cathy Greiwe, a physician and rider.
In seven years the event has grown from an idea to a massive community of people who want to do something to stop seeing their friends, their family, themselves, diagnosed with what can be a horrible disease.
“I saw all these people doing this…and it really breaks my heart when I hear of someone dying of cancer,” said Ciara Bryant who will be riding her first Pelotonia.
So far, the Columbus Pelotonia has raised 80-million dollars, after this year it is expected to top 100-million and all proceeds stay here in Central Ohio.
Caroline Phillips-Stevens has participated in the tour since it began in 2008 and says keeping the cause in mind keeps her pedaling.
“Last year I rode for a very close family friend who passed away this year. So I rode for her. So it was hard. This year is gonna be hard. If you think about cancer and things people are going through treatment wise , riding a bike is pretty easy,” said Phillips-Stevens.