“Cancer affects everyone in some way.”
Boone Jenner’s words summarize the core essence of one of the largest cancer fundraising bike rides in the country. Pelotonia, a grassroots event organized in Columbus six years ago, has a four-word, powerful mission statement.
One Goal: End Cancer.
The first Pelotonia ride took place in 2009 and has since grown into a multi-million dollar fundraiser as it enters its sixth installment this weekend. Last year, Pelotonia raised $61 million with donations made to 6,723 riders who made the trek between 25 and 180 miles over the course of a mid-August weekend.
So when teammate Dalton Prout signed up for this year’s ride, he asked Jenner if he’d be interested.
“I was all for it, but I hadn't heard much about Pelotonia until he told me about it,” Jenner told BlueJackets.com. “The amount of money that they raise for cancer every year is incredible; it’s a great cause and any time we can do something to benefit a cause like that, it’s pretty special.
"This ride raises a ton of money for cancer research, and it’s great to be part of it.”
Both Jenner and Prout will be riding in Pelotonia for the first time, and Jenner hopes it’s the first of many years they can participate.
This year’s edition of Pelotonia is already bigger than 2013; as of Friday morning, 7,256 riders in 275 pelotons had registered for this weekend’s ride and over $11 million has already been raised in support of cancer research.
According to Pelotonia’s official website, “100 percent of funds raised by Pelotonia Riders, Virtual Riders and Volunteers directly supports cancer research at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center- James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC-James). Pelotonia dollars support four key areas at Ohio State’s cancer program; The Pelotonia Fellowship Program, Idea Grants, Tools for Discovery and Bringing the Best to Ohio State.”
“I’ve started noticing the stickers all over the city…it’s pretty cool,” Jenner said. “It’s a big race and the players who have been involved in the past all said it’s a lot of fun, a great ride, and a great experience.
“We’ve never biked that far in one day and it’s a challenge…we’ve been working hard to get ready for it and it’s really exciting.”
Hockey players often workout on stationary bikes and Jenner is no different, but he admitted that his first couple of “road rides” were nothing like an ordinary Tuesday morning session on the bikes inside the team facility.
“It’s way different on the road bikes, and you’re not standing there just pedaling and working out,” Jenner said. “It’s a little different but we’re both really enjoying it so far. We aren’t doing too long of rides yet; we’ve been pretty busy in the gym and on the track sticking to our summer routines and offseason programs here.
“Whenever we can get out and get a ride in, it’s fun and I think we’re getting the hang of it.”
Jenner admitted that his excitement has gone up each day as Saturday gets closer, and both he and Prout will be on-hand for opening ceremonies on Friday night at the Columbus Commons.
More than anything, Jenner said, he’s excited to help raise money and awareness for cancer research and help Pelotonia in its mission.
“It’s a part of everyone’s life and everyone’s been touched by it,” Jenner said. “This ride is just one way for us to raise money in support of cancer research. It’s definitely touched me and my life, and to be able to ride for such a cause is really great.”
(image courtesy of Pelotonia.org)