Category Archives: Rider Stories

Share Your #POHRFamily!

The Pan Ohio Hope Ride relies on the the support of family and friends; now we are asking riders, volunteers, supporters, family members and friends committed to our shared cause to show off your #POHRFamily!  Use the hashtag on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc to demonstrate how your own family supports Pan Ohio or how you have become “family” through your experience with the ride. 

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Share a story about a time when your family was there to support you before, during or after the Pan Ohio Hope Ride, or tell us about your experience as a part of the larger POHR family!  There are many ways to share your #POHRFamily!

NOT riding in July?  REGISTER as a VIRTUAL PARTICIPANT and become part of the POHR Family!  Register as a Virtual Participant, raise at least $100 and you will receive an Official 2015 POHR Event Shirt! 

Use #POHRFamily or email us your story at panohioinfo@cancer.org to share your “family” spirit and help expand our growing POHR Family!

Why I Ride – Mike Woods

Mike Woods is riding for a co-worker’s daughter who is just twelve years. He is riding for Nicole. Before riding in the Pan Ohio Hope Ride, Mike cycled a few times for the Tour of the Roses ride in Austin, Texas and he didn’t know about the Pan Ohio Hope Ride until he saw a flier at Marymount.

This is a personal trip for Mike. He is looking forward to receiving a memento from Nicole so when he takes it out of his jersey at any point during the ride, he is reminded of her and why he is riding. He plans to give Nicole his jersey after the ride is over along with the “Riding For” placecard.

As a new rider to Pan Ohio, Mike is looking forward to a memorable moment from the ride. Having cycling experience from other rides, Mike is inspired by seeing all the cyclists, volunteers and families who support the riders. Everyone has a story to tell and positive kharma to spread.

Mike’s advice for new riders? Take it slow, drink more than you think you need and eat a lot.

Joshua Johnson rides for those who can’t… Who are you riding for?

POHR rider Joshua Johnson recalls his experience with the Cleveland Hope Lodge and shares the inspiring story of why he rides for those who can’t.

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2012 was the first year I participated in the Pan Ohio Hope Ride…as a rider. You see, I’d been involved once before. In 2009,  I was a patient/guest at the Hope Lodge in Cleveland. During the kickoff dinner, I clearly recall the excited cyclists and their families enjoying a wonderful meal and time spent together before the event began the next morning. However, times were not so cheery for my wife and I. For the next year, I would be fighting for my life against cancer.

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In 2011, after making a miraculous recovery from two surgeries, chemotherapy, and nearly life ending complications, I began to set my sights on the upcoming POHR. I was never a cyclist to begin with. In fact, I spent my college years playing football as an offensive lineman at nearly 300 pounds. Cycling offered me a window to regain some of the athleticism I had lost. I was determined to participate in the Hope Ride again, only this time I’d be riding in it myself.

When people ask me who I’m riding for, I never hesitate: I ride for those who can’t. I ride for those who will be staring through the Hope Lodge windows at me. I ride for those who have gone before me in their own battles with cancer. For those who shared conversations with me in hospital beds next to mine. I ride, most notably, for those I never saw again.

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The POHR has impacted my life in two noticeable ways. First, it has obviously provided me a way to give back to the Hope Lodge and its staff for all of their outstanding, selfless effort. I was the recipient of unmatched hospitality while staying there and now I am able to raise donations to benefit others in need of that wonderful resource. Second, the POHR has become an outlet to raise awareness among those who may not know my story and provide encouragement for those facing their own battles. 

My favorite and most memorable part of the event has to be the kickoff party. Don’t get me wrong, the feeling of accomplishment after completing the ride is wonderful! But I truly enjoyed visiting with the guests/patients at the Hope Lodge and encouraging them. I guess this part goes hand in hand with my advice for new and returning riders: Try going inside and striking up a conversation with the people on the other side of the glass. You never know, they may be riding beside you next year!

Here’s to a wonderful POHR 2013!

 

 

 

Why I Ride – Steve Troxel

Steve is no stranger to cancer.Bike_Troxel2

His first experience with it was after oldest daughter had just been born. His mother was planning to travel from Washington to Texas to see her new granddaughter, even though she hadn’t been feeling well. Before traveling, she saw her doctor who recommended she saw specialist. The prognosis was stage 4 melanoma, with not much time left. His mother passed away five months later.

Three years ago his baby sister was diagnosed with brain cancer, Glioblastoma Multiforme. She went through all the treaments; chemotherapy, surgery and radiation. Sadly, she lost her life 10 months later, leaving behind her husband and three young children.

Earlier this year, Steve’s 12 year-old daughter was having stomach pain. The pain continued after trying two types of antibiotics and it wasn’t until his wife suggested a sonogram that revealed a large mass. Further testing revealed stage 3 ovarian cancer. According to the Ovarian Cancer National Alliance, only 1.2 percent of females younger than 20 are diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Consumed with tests, surgery and chemotherapy for the first five months of 2013, the initial results indicate the treatments have been successful for his daughter.

Who is Steve Riding For?

Steve is not only righting for his mother, sister and daughter, he is riding for others to show someone cares.

Steve first heard about the Pan Ohio Hope Ride in March, when his friend, Dave Riel from Dayton asked to create a team in honor of Steve’s daughter. Steve’s response? Absolutely yes, and team Kaylee’s Krew was born. Steve began researching what the Pan Ohio Ride was about after talking with Dave. A week later, he spoke with Dave asking to fly out from Texas to Ohio to participate. Without a bicycle, in the middle of treatments for his daughter and not having ridden a bike in more than 30 years, Steve wasn’t sure what he was getting himself into.

What inspired Steve to join the Pan Ohio Hope Ride? The cause of the event, riding for those who aren’t able, raising funds for the American Cancer Society, and the adventure of cycling 328 miles in four days across Ohio. Like many other riders participating in POHR, this is Steve’s first organized ride. POHR has motivated Steve to look for more ways to be involved in the giant effort called The Fight Against Cancer. “It’s going to take many armies to win this battle and I am pleased to be part of the fight.  The amount of effort from so many dedicated people who make this event possible gives hope that this is a battle which can be won.”

Steve’s Fundraising Tips

Steve manages a large mailing list of people who have been following the story with his sister and daughter for the last several years.  So many people from all over the world are affected by cancer.  When he told them he was riding to support families going through the battle and asked for their help, they responded. He is pleased with the amount of money raised and especially pleased with the number of people who have donated; more than 200.  Steve’s one and only technique: Tell your story and ask.

Training Advice for New Riders

Although Steve is a new POHR rider himself, his training advice includes:

  1. If your goal is to ride a long ride like POHR, quickly get your riding level up to 25 miles, ride often, and learn to enjoy the ride. 
  2. Understand that as you increase your mileage, it will be normal for your butt to get sore. It does get less uncomfortable if you keep it up. 
  3. Give yourself enough time to train. The amount of time varies for each rider and Steve is not sure how much is enough for others, especially since he was only able to really train on the bike for six weeks prior to POHR.This might not enough but he had logged a lot of running miles before starting, which has helped.

A New Love for Cycling

Bike_Troxel1Steve has really enjoyed getting involved in biking. POHR gave him a goal and the motivation to train. He is hooked on cycling and hopes to find other opportunities to ride and raise money for the fight against cancer. Every time he rides, he praises God that my legs and lungs still work. He knows that many people around the world would love to ride but are physically not able; his sister would have loved to ride across Ohio.

“I often think that I ride and run simply because I can; many others cannot and, while I can, I will keep going.”

Stay tuned for a follow and hear about Steve’s Pan Ohio experience.

Carole Blackschleger Rides For Many… Who Are You Riding For?

Team Charlene rider Carole Blackschleger shares her experience with the Hope Lodge and why she chooses to ride Pan Ohio to remember and honor many loved ones in her life.

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Who are you riding for?

I’ve dedicated 2013 to the memory of my mother, Marion Fuerst – a wonderful human being who happened to be my mother and my best friend. She fought several courageous battles with cancer, eventually succumbing to it. I am also riding for my dear friend, George Bush, who repeating Pan Ohio riders know. He is in treatment for prostate cancer and will be pushing and encouraging many riders this year!

As I have for many years, I am with Team Charlene in honor of George’s wife, who lost her battle with cancer. Team Charlene and other friends will still be keeping her in our thoughts, and George in our prayers. You can call us Team Bush!

How did you get started with POHR?

The POHR founder, Kathleen Bond, introduced me to the event as I was looking for a way to say thank you to the Hope Lodge system. Thanks Kathleen. In 2008, I was diagnosed with ocular melanoma. My oncologist recommended treatment in Boston. It was scary! In a matter of a week or two I had to arrange time off from work, do pretesting, arrange transportation, deal with the thought of cancer…but thanks to the ACS Navigator, I didn’t have to worry about lodging; I had a place to stay at the Hope Lodge in Boston.

Hospitality, compassion, friendship and so much more – the Hope Lodge was a true blessing! This is why I really ride, I could never repay the Hope Lodge for all it did for me in that scary time of my life.

Final thoughts on the ride…

There is no better feeling of gratitude than riding out of downtown Cleveland. The  streets are closed for us, police escort the riders and bystanders line the roads cheering us on. It can be overwhelming.

As far as fundraising, I have had success with yard sales. I let everyone know proceeds go to the ACS Pan Ohio Hope Ride and they usually pa me a higher price. The best preparation is getting on your bike and riding. This year I have invested in a performance road bike. I hope it helps with the hills, better gearing than my race road bike.

If you haven’t ridden before be ready for a thrilling time. If you have ridden before…you know, and you’ve come back!

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Patty Brown rides for her mom…Who are you riding for?

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Team Michigang rider Patty Brown shares her inspiring story for completing her first POHR event in 2012, and why she’ll be back again this year.

My story begins with my mom.  My mom loved pigs, she collected all kinds. Growing up, our house was full of them from the pig mailbox outside, pig towels in the bathroom to the pig spatula set in the kitchen. They were everywhere!

I was very close with my mom. I was fortunate enough to take the summer off of work the year she died. I did everything that I could for her and I can honestly say I have no regrets.

My mom died November 19, 2009 after fighting colon cancer for about 18 months. She was 66.

That day changed my life. My son was ten and my daughter was seven at the time, and their lives were forever changed as well. Grandma wouldn’t be there to see them grow up, or do all of the special grandma things she did for them. Our hearts were broken.

I vowed I would do something, help someone, make a difference in at least one persons life.

Fast forward a couple of years…

Day one of the ride last year,  I don’t remember at what point, but I started talking to my mom. I talk to her all of the time anyway, but this was a little different. I asked her to give me the strength to do this ride and to finish it! I asked her to be the wind at my back, help me peddle up the impossible hills. I asked her to be with me the whole time, that I needed her. And I also asked her to send me a sign. A sign to let me know she was here with me.  (Although I did keep a laminated photo of her in my pocket.)

As each day passed, I just kept on talking to her. Not really noticing any signs and nothing significant happened. Until the final day. As we all gathered at the park at the top of Cincinnati, I signed the banner that read “Who are you riding for?”  I then went to the edge of the park that overlooked the city; it was an awe inspiring scene. Emotion overwhelmed me…I really did it! As I stood there, I told her I did it for her.patty brown 2

As we all lined up and rode down the city streets of Cincinnati toward the finish line, it was an exhilarating feeling of accomplishment. We all were so very excited to finally get to the end!

As we turned a corner, I looked up and in front of a building stood a large statue of a pig. Not just any pig, it was an angel pig with a halo and wings!!! Tears instantly flowed and I screamed “THANK YOU MOM,  I LOVE YOU!”

I know that was her, telling me she was in fact with me the whole time.

I am so very thankful for all of the things she has taught me: strength, courage, devotion, and most of all love. I will keep doing this ride, for her. For every family that has to go through what mine has. I will make my mom proud,  I will make a difference!!
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Patty is already looking forward to the 2013 Pan Ohio Hope Ride and offered this advice for new riders: “This is a very mentally challenging ride. Your mind has to be just as prepared as your body.”