The Rider

July 30, 2010

Lights, Camera, Action … Pelotonia!

Filed under: Rider Profiles — The Blog @ 6:01 AM

Cancer survivors often go on to do great things with their lives.

“It’s become clear to me that when people survive cancer, they in fact survive with real resiliency and an optimism for life,” said Philip Allen, a resilient cancer survivor who seems to be on track to do some great things with his life.

“And they turn it into great work and are role models and inspirations to people around them, not just people who are also going through cancer, but anyone going through life.”

Philip's documentary will tell the story of cancer survivors who have accomplished great things

This belief is the basis for One Story At A Time, a documentary Philip, 27 and an Ohio State world literature major, will produce through a Pelotonia Undergraduate Fellowship.

His goal is for newly diagnosed cancer patients to view his documentary, which will be chock full of stories of cancer survivors who have won their battle – and gone on to lead productive and inspirational lives. Think Lance, but on a more local level.

There are a plethora of people in Central Ohio who fit this casting call – and many of them are Pelotonia riders.

“When you’re first diagnosed, I know from experience, you get a lot of information about the medicines you’ll be taking and the side effects and the long-term health effects – and this is very important,” Philip said. “But what’s also important is to let people know there is life after cancer, and this documentary will show people the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Philip grew up in Findley and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma when he was 12. Adolescence is tough enough without a life-threatening disease – and he struggled physically and mentally.

“That’s an age where you’re already struggling to feel connected with your peers,” Philip said. “When I was treated I was being home schooled and I had a tough time believing in myself, that I could integrate back into the social world and it was tough for many years.”

He attended Ohio University for a year, before dropping out to pursue music with his band, Cathedrals. Philip was the front man and played guitar – and did a lot of growing up as the band traveled the country for four years.

“I enjoyed every minute of it, but decided I needed to go back to school,” he said.

Here's Philip (top) with his brothers, Matthew and Christopher

Philip wound up at Ohio State and dove into his major – and read about the Pelotonia Undergraduate Fellowships. While most of the fellowships have been awarded to students doing hard-core cancer research, the goal is to think outside the box and expand beyond pure science and science majors.

“That emphasis made it sound as though they were speaking directly to me,” said Philip, who felt the need to provide hope to newly diagnosed cancer patients.

“Most of these other projects are these amazing research projects, and when you read the titles they’re filled with this highly technical scientific jargon. I felt like I could bridge the gap between this research and the public at large.”

Philip is still working on the logistics of assembling a crew and will begin production in the fall. He is also in the midst of contacting cancer survivors to interview and said he already has several people in mind. His job this summer is with Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams as a customer advocate.

Philip is not sure how much of his own story he will tell in One Story At A Time. He might appear at the beginning to introduce the film and provide some context, or he might tell more of his story. Or maybe not. No matter how much he is featured, Philip’s experiences with cancer and his life since this battle will guide his vision for his film.

And set an example for others.

Philip should be able to find some subjects for his documentary at Pelotonia

“Getting back into the social world after my cancer was difficult and I always felt like an outsider,” he said, adding his years in a band and now as a student at Ohio State have helped.

“But I’ve really been bolstered by this experience with Pelotonia. I believe that when a person has gone through something like that and can then give back to their family and community they will feel more connected. What I hope this project will do is encourage others is that they can survive cancer and go on to live well and appreciate and savor every day and give something back.”

10 things about Philip…

Favorite ride

Around the elementary school with my brother and mom when I was a kid

Dream ride

The south of France

Current Pelotonia bike

A loaner Cannondale

Dream bike

My vintage Fuji road bike that was stolen

Favorite movie


Favorite band/singer


Favorite TV show


Favorite book

The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

Favorite athlete

Scottie Pippen

Favorite post-ride meal

A chicken and spinach salad and wheat bread and a big scoop of Jeni’s ice cream


1 Comment »

  1. We are all very proud of you Philip. Enjoy the ride!

    Comment by Jayne (Philip's mom) — August 14, 2010 @ 11:13 AM

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