Brandi Hann has truly been with Pelotonia since the beginning. In 2009, Brandi signed up to ride 50 miles in the inaugural Pelotonia and has a part of our community every year since then. In 2011, Brandi was diagnosed with cancer, but she didn’t let that stop her from participating in Pelotonia and instead of riding, she volunteered. When Pelotonia 2012 rolled around, she was back at it as a Living Proof Rider with yet another reason to ride- herself. She’s been at it ever since. Originally from Ashland, she currently lives in Gahanna and is the Office Administrator for the Columbus office of Squire Patton Boggs. Read on to learn more about Brandi and her passion for the Pelotonia community.
Why did you decide to become a part of Pelotonia?
Kelley Greismer is very convincing! I was working at SBC Advertising, next door to the Pelotonia office and we hosted a recruiting event for the block and Kelley’s energy was so contagious that 7 of us signed up to ride that night! I did not own a bike and had never done any fundraising before, but there was something special about the message from Kelley and Jessica Nash that night. I am so glad I took the risk!
What was your first experience with Pelotonia like?
Life-changing! I was so pre-occupied with the idea of fundraising and a little nervous about riding, that the emotional charge at the opening ceremony completely caught me off guard. At that time, I did not have a deep personal connection to cancer, but after experiencing the survivor tent that year and watching the opening ceremony video, I knew this was a cause I would be deeply connected to forever.
Have you ever received a donation you weren’t expecting?
I have! Two years ago, I was on a training ride with Girls With Gears and I met a woman by the name of Roslyn. Roslyn previously rode in Pelotonia, but was not planning to ride that year. We talked for several miles and I shared my story. That following week, I received a $250 donation from someone I had never met. It turns out the woman was one of Roslyn’s donors that she had shared my story with, and she directed her Pelotonia support to me. She was a breast cancer survivor and had been treated at The James. I was so touched by her generosity!
Do you have a favorite Pelotonia story?
Pelotonia 2012. I rode as a survivor for the first time. I was only 3 months post-chemo and my dear friend, Aneca, encouraged me to get back on the bike. We rode 100 miles and that was the first year the ride went to Kenyon College. Not only did we ride 100 miles, but we rode the harder route, Reynolds Rd. When we arrived at the choice to take Bennington Chapel or Reynolds, Aneca looked at me and said “You have survived cancer, you are not going to let a hill scare you!” We battled our way through that last 40 miles and crossing that finish line could not have been sweeter!
Why is Pelotonia important to you?
When I rode in the first Pelotonia in 2009, I did not have a deep connection to cancer. I did not know that just 2 years later I would be diagnosed with cancer and become a patient of The James. I also did not know that my dad would be diagnosed with lung cancer and be treated at The James, and, less than a year later, my mom would be diagnosed with breast cancer and also be treated at The James. I am a survivor and I am here today thanks to the care I received at The James. Pelotonia is changing the face of research – it is raising the funds needed for progressive research to improve preventative care and to find a cure!
What’s your favorite post-ride meal?
Chipotle! It’s the only time I can finish a full burrito!