The Rider

August 3, 2010

Pelotonia and Cancer Survivors Day – a Perfect Match

Filed under: Pelotonia News, The James — The Blog @ 9:04 AM

A scene from Cancer Survivors Day at Pelotonia 2009

The Pelotonia and Cancer Survivors Day marriage is one that really does fit the whole “made in heaven” cliché.

“It seems like a perfect pairing,” said Melissa Hall, spokeswoman for the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute, the organizer of Cancer Survivors Day since it was first held in 1988.

Over the years, the event has wandered from place to place: outside Rhodes Hall on the OSU campus, at The James, the Columbus Zoo and even on the roof of the 9th Avenue Parking Garage at Ohio State.

At Pelotonia 2009, Cancer Survivors Day was an important part of the Friday night celebration … and about 1,500 cancer survivors gathered for the occasion. This year – and for years to come – Cancer Survivors Day will be part of Day One of Pelotonia.

“It was like everybody bonded right away,” said survivor Tina Pace, who was attended her first Cancer Survivor Day last year. “It’s hard to explain, but when you meet someone there, it seems like you’ve known them your whole life.”

Tina’s mom, Patti Belt, was there with her daughter.

“It was very inspiring to know so many people could do it and see so many survivors,” Patti said. “She’s my daughter and your kids aren’t supposed to be sicker than you are, so it was important to share it with her.”

Cancer survivors will sign a banner, thanking Pelotonia riders for riding and rasising money for cancer research

Sharing is the key word, as Pelotonia’s riders and volunteers – which includes hundreds of cancer survivors – will get to share Cancer Survivors Day with many of the people who inspire us to ride.

“It really is rewarding to see all of the survivors there celebrating,” Melissa said. “You spend a lot of time wondering if what you do makes a difference and in that one day you get to see it.”

Melissa said invitations have been sent to about 14,000 survivors – and she expects 1,500 to attend. Survivors will receive a goody bag filled with, well, goodies, including a survivor T-shirt, and there will also be an expo under the big tent in which exhibitors can show off their cancer-related wares and programs.

Attendees will also sign a few “thank you, Pelotonia riders” banners, which will be displayed at a few points during the route.

“Everybody does such a wonderful job organizing this and I really appreciate everything they do,” Tina said.

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