Rider Profile: Q&A with Daniel White
Daniel White is no stranger to Pelotonia. Pelotonia 16 was Daniel’s fourth year as a Rider, his third year riding 180 miles and his second year as a High Roller. With each year, Daniel pushes himself to higher fundraising and riding goals. Raised on the east side of Columbus, Daniel’s parents set an excellent example of dedication to service and his time at St. Charles High School reinforced his commitment to serve the community. After living in several places around the U.S., nine years ago Daniel returned to central Ohio. Daniel is currently a retail consultant with his own firm, Daniel W. Consulting, and most recently worked for Victoria’s Secret and The Container Store. He is grateful for the continued support of his partner, Douglas Craven. Read on to learn how Daniel got involved in Pelotonia and what keeps him coming back each year.
Why did you decide to be a part of the Pelotonia community?
My Pelotonia journey started with Catherine Priest. She was also a manager at The Container Store and her father had benefited from the great people at The James. This is her 7th year riding. She started Team TCS, and I was inspired to ride 100 miles in 2013 and raised over $1800. I knew I wanted to “go further” in 2014 and rode 180 miles and raised $2300. Last year, 2015, meant even more to me. My mother spent more than 5 months in the hospital for treatment for Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) and Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). Most of this time was at the brand new OSUCCC James. My friends and family followed our pain and struggles and highs and lows throughout this ordeal. The James and Pelotonia were lightning rods for action. I nearly doubled my commitment and became a High Roller raising almost $5,600. I also worked closely with The Container Store and Pelotonia to partner together for the grand opening of the store at Easton Market – donating 10% of sales that first weekend to Pelotonia! This year, I was excited to join the L Brands team – knowing that my fundraising will also be matched – doubling my fundraising efforts.
What was your first experience with Pelotonia like?
My first experience was overwhelming. I rode a hybrid bike 100 miles with two of my coworkers who were in better shape than me and had better bikes. What I realized quickly was that this was, in fact, not a race! Everyone on the ride was so supportive and encouraging. The heroes along the side of the road cheering for us and providing water and snacks were inspiring. The volunteers and Pelotonia staff were always there no matter the need. I knew after the first 100 miles that all I wanted was to wake up and do it again!
How do you fundraise?
What I have learned is that your friends, family and coworkers are waiting for a reason to support you. They are waiting for an opportunity to show they care about you and what is important to you. When you give them the opportunity to be a part of your journey, your ride, they jump at the chance.
My first year as a Rider I personally messaged every single friend I had on Facebook. I made each message personal to them and our relationship. Then I broke it down, “Every penny goes directly to cancer research. If every one of my Facebook friends gives me just $5, I will reach my goal.” The reality is that only about 20% of people gave. Those that did, however, averaged more than $25 per donation! In fact, last year, my average donation was $50.
Since that first year, I have sent personal letters, held bake sales and garage sales, and even sold bracelets. People want to give. All they need is a reason.
Do you have a favorite Pelotonia story?
It’s hard to pick just one favorite memory but I can at least narrow it down to two.
In 2014, my family was busy with prior obligations and only my mom would be able to meet me at the finish. I texted her, but I overestimated how long it would take to get to New Albany (the 180-mile finish). Even though I arrived 30 minutes early, as fate would have it, she had just arrived and was standing at the finish waiting for me. I looked forward to another story like that at the end of the 2015 ride. Unfortunately, my mother passed away while at the James on July 12th – a month before the ride.
Catherine Priest, my original inspiration, was going to ride 75 miles in my mom’s memory and end at the Kenyon finish for the first time. We began at different locations and did not anticipate seeing each other during the ride. Then, less than 5 miles from the finish, I saw Catherine pumping away right in front of me. “Catherine!! How did this happen?!” She accused me of already finishing and coming back to find her. In fact, serendipity (or maybe mom) brought us together. Catherine told me to go ahead without her as she was slowing down. I told her there was no way I would finish without her. We rode those last 5 miles as a united team. We pulled into the chute and I reached over and grabbed her hand. We pumped our united fists in the air as we crossed the finish into Gambier, and I immediately knew that somehow my mom had found a way to meet us at that finish too. Consequently, Columbus Dispatch photographer Kyle Robertson caught a picture of Catherine and I with our hands in the air. It was the editor’s pick for the best picture of the weekend. Truly a magical Pelotonia moment.
What’s your favorite part of Pelotonia?
The work that we’ve done as a community so far. I am so impressed with the pace of change and the rate of success with certain treatments and care. It’s because of you, and our neighbors and coworkers. We are all a part of the ONE GOAL.