Pelotonia’s Lead Medical Volunteer and Her First-Aid Team
If you’re a Pelotonia Rider, you already know all about our amazing Volunteers.
But here’s something you may not know: It takes nearly 300 Volunteers, many with medical, EMS or Basic Life Support (BLS) training, to staff the first aid stations at all the many rest stops.
And they’re all organized and led by Kendra McCamey, Pelotonia’s Lead Medical Volunteer, with a big assist over the years from Matt Briggs. Kendra is an MD at Ohio State who specializes in sports medicine. She works with many OSU teams and also sees patients. Matt is a PhD and an Ohio State staff physical therapist. He works with a wide range of patients and coordinates the OSU Sports Physical Therapy Residency program. As the event has grown, Matt and Kendra picked up another recruit to join them in their efforts, Kelly Henschen. Kelly is also a PhD and an OSU physical therapist in the sports medicine department. Not only does she help coordinate Pelotonia’s medical Volunteers, she also helps organize the Rider Orientations.
In other words: Kendra, Matt and Kelly are tops in their fields – and we’re lucky to have them on the Pelotonia team.
Their Pelotonia connection began a few months before the first ride in 2009.
“I heard about Pelotonia and thought it was a great cause,” said Kendra, who asked her associates at OSU Sports Medicine “if we were going to get involved. Matt expressed interest and we met with Pelotonia and said we’d like to help.”
They’ve been helping ever since, making sure there are plenty of well-qualified Volunteers at every rest stop equipped with a wide assortment of first-aid materials and a plastic, kiddie pool filled with ice.
A kiddie pool filled with ice?
“Heat stroke can be a serious problem and requires immediate attention,” Kendra said. This is where the ice-filled, plastic pools come in. Fortunately, no Rider has had to be placed in one to bring down a dangerously high body temperature.
Pelotonia is a family affair for the McCameys. Kendra’s parents, Ron (a melanoma survivor) and Trudi, are Volunteers.
“The first year, I recruited them at the last minute to be SAG drivers and they’ve volunteered every year since,” Kendra said.
The week leading up to Pelotonia is go time for Kendra and Matt. “We have to make sure we have the right mix of volunteers at each rest stop, for each shift, and have everything we need in all the bins for all the rest stops and have our emergency action plan ready. We have an amazing team of volunteers – they’re the real stars.”
The weekend of Pelotonia is even busier for Kendra.
She’s has ridden every year since 2010, doing the 25-mile route. Ron and Trudi drop her off at the start, leave a car in Pickerington for Kendra and then drive on to Gambier where they volunteer. Kendra rides to Pickerington, hops in her car, makes a few stops along the way and eventually gets to Gambier.
“This year I had to stop in Granville,” she said. “I’d heard so much about it, how the entire town comes out to celebrate Pelotonia. I was blown away by it.”
Then it was on to Gambier and the Pelotonia Command Center. “I get home around 9:30 Saturday night, I’m on call all night and then get to New Albany about 7 a.m. on Sunday morning,” Kendra said.
If there were more hours in the day, Kendra would like to take on one of the longer Pelotonia rides.
“When I’m riding there are so many times when I get tears in my eyes from all the people along the route holding signs,” she said.
Teary eyes are a common medical condition many Pelotonia Riders encounter. Fortunately, Kendra has a cure: “Blink through it and keep going.”
Steve Wartenberg is a journalist, cyclist and longtime Pelotonia Rider. Steve is one of just a
handful who have pedalled every mile of every Pelotonia. This year he is going above and beyond his fundraising efforts as a High Roller! firstname.lastname@example.org.