The Rider

August 13, 2010

Thinking About His Hero and Three Miracles

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

A lot of thoughts will be racing through Aaron Shank’s mind as he rides from Columbus to Athens next Saturday during Pelotonia.

He’ll think back to the time, 14 years ago, when his wife, Roshini, was diagnosed with acute promylecytic leukemia – a cancer of the bone marrow. Aaron and Roshini were in their mid-20s – and really scared.

Roshini has now been in remission for 14 years.

Here's Roshini, Aaron and the kids...

Aaron will also think about his three miracles: Renuka, 11, Rasili, 7, and Ranjini, 5.

“We didn’t know if it was going to be possible for her to have children,” Aaron said, adding he may also ponder why his wife picked three names that start with R. “I don;t know why – but her license plate is also Rs.”

And when Aaron and the Pelotonia caravan passes by The James, he will remember all the great care the staff gave Roshini – and his mother in law, who is also a cancer survivor and former patient at the world-renowned cancer hospital.

“We’ve been touched by too much cancer,” said Aaron, who added that two close friends lost their battle within a short period of time about two years ago. One after a 10-year fight, the second after only a month.

“Pelotonia was an obvious thing for me to do,” Aaron said. “It was a great way to get back into biking and raise money for the James.”

Aaron is a lawyer at Porter Wright, a Columbus firm, and will be part of the firm’s peloton, which includes about 35 riders.

“It’s a great group,” Aaron said, adding some members are experienced riders who helped teach him the ropes when he first got back into cycling before last year’s Pelotonia. “This is a fantastic story for Columbus, how we got organized and are really working to do something amazing.”

The Porter Wright peloton got to meet with Lance last year; that's Aaron and Renuka all the way over on the left.

Aaron grew up in Rochester, New York – and met Roshini at Wittenberg University. He then attended law school at Ohio State.

Roshini has worked for many years in the area of cancer research, at Ohio State and with private companies. Her bout with cancer is what guided her into this area, said Aaron, who calls his wife a hero.

At the first Pelotonia, Aaron signed up for the 43-mile ride to Amanda. He and his hybrid made it and he felt so good he went another three miles and then back to Amanda, in order to complete his first 50-mile ride.

This year he’s doing the 102-mile route to Athens – and it will be his first century.

“I’m up to 70 miles,” he said of his training. “I think I can do another 30 and I’ll hit the hills near Amanda to get some hill training, which is a necessary evil.”

It’s probably a god thing Aaron is going the distance this year, as he’ll have a lot to think about: his wonderful family and friends, and all the lessons cancer has taught him.

“You can’t take anything for granted,” Aaron said. “Especially when I’m riding, I think about how life is precious and temporary and you have to get everything you can out of it. And not everyone gets this opportunity because of cancer.”

10 things about Aaron

Favorite ride

Pelotonia

Dream ride

The Alps

Current Pelotonia bike

Jamus Quest

Dream bike

An all-carbon bike

Favorite movie

Star Wars

Favorite band/singer

The Airborne Toxic Event

Favorite TV show

Saturday Night Live

Favorite book

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Favorite athlete

Jim Kelly

Favorite post-ride meal

Biryana – an Indian rice dish

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