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An Open Letter to the Pelotonia Community from Doug Ulman

An Open Letter to the Pelotonia Community from Doug Ulman

 

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I arrived in Columbus in November of 2014 to take what I had determined was a dream job. And I vividly remember hearing the same references repeatedly during my first few weeks of meetings with riders, volunteers and partners.
Starner Hill. Reynolds Road. Granville. The guy with the sign. The Commons.

These, and so many more, were mentioned with such passion it became clear to me that there was enormous emotional and experiential significance behind each one. These moments and iconic places have all played a critical role in building the Pelotonia movement.

What started as a bike ride has become so much more-because of you. Pelotonia is a true community-a place where people go to gain inspiration and create meaningful collective impact. This community has come so far, so fast.

It was just one short decade ago that Pelotonia was hosting our first opening ceremony and I had the privilege to be in attendance. I was traveling with Lance Armstrong as a representative of LIVESTRONG and I remember standing on the side of the stage catching up with my long-time friend and mentor Gordon Gee while dignitaries and special guests mingled about. The lawn at Chemical Abstracts glistened and several thousand people gathered to see what this “Pelotonia” thing was all about.

During the previous year, and through some serendipitous moments, I heard about the vision for Pelotonia from Mike Caligiuri, Dan Rosenthal, Cindy Hilsheimer and Tom Lennox. It sounded exciting. I’ll admit, though, I dismissed some of it as overly ambitious. Boy, did I underestimate what this community is capable of!

Having witnessed the first-ever ride in 2009, I recall how impressed I was at the size, scale and magnitude of the first-year venture. Most inaugural events start small-not Pelotonia. Most events are transactional in nature – you sign up, you participate, you go home-not Pelotonia. This one was different. I could sense a movement was stirring in the way the community was engaged and energized. The passion of the participants was palpable and contagious and I was in awe.

Little did I know then that six years later I would join this community full-time. It’s been an amazing experience-one that my family and I cherish-and I’m so excited about our future.

As we come together to celebrate ten years of impact, I want to express my gratitude. The Pelotonia movement-powered by you-is impacting the lives of so many people.

Having now cried riding through Granville, grimaced in pain on the ascent of Reynolds Road, and been motivated to pedal faster as I rode by the man holding the sign that reads, “Thank you so much for saving my wife,” I know first-hand how truly special the movement is.

Every time we walk the halls of The James, or the Biomedical Research Tower, we see your impact with our own eyes. Patients and families have hope of new therapies because of your participation. Researchers are pursuing new ideas because of your fundraising. There is optimism and a belief in all that is possible because of you.

An anniversary is simply one moment in time. And we choose to celebrate our moment-10 remarkable years-by reflecting on what we’ve accomplished while also looking ahead. In our next decade, we’ll do what we do best-raise the bar to have an even greater impact collectively. This will mean more fellowships for brilliant minds, more breakthroughs in prevention and detection, new clinical trials, less toxic therapies and major investments that will yield transformational results and save more lives.

A word of thanks is simply not enough. So, we plan to express our gratitude in as many ways as we can throughout the weekend and in the weeks and months to come.

Until cancer is a disease of the past, let’s forge ahead together.

One Goal,

Doug Ulman
Pelotonia President and CEO

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