Tag Archives: inspiration

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!

 

 

 

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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.”

 

Body Weight & Cancer Risk

In the Pan Ohio Hope Ride not only do we ride across Ohio to support the American Cancer Society’s Hope Lodges/Programs, we also ride to keep ourselves physically strong/and reduce risk of cancer.

The growing data below suggests a strong relationship between excess body weight and increased risk of certain cancers.

This infographic highlights current research that shows the significant cancer risk of excess body weight, poor nutrition and physical inactivity. It also highlights ways to reduce that risk by following American Cancer Society guidelines for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.

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Who are you riding for?

Every PanOhio Hope Rider has someone that inspires them. How else could you make it from Cleveland to Cincinnati on a bike?

Here’s what some of our riders had to say about why they’re riding:

Bill Draznik, Cincinnati
“My grandmother Lois passed away 10 years ago from pancreatic cancer and I still miss her dearly,” he said. “My grandmother Mary has already beaten ovarian cancer and is now fighting breast cancer. Both of these women have tremendously influenced my life, and I would ride my bike across the world and back for them.”

Stan Moczydlowski, Cincinnati
Moczydlowski (MUH zid Lah skee) used an American Cancer Society support service called Man to Man as he recovered from his struggle with prostate cancer. He also used his bike during that time, increasing his bicycle mileage before prostate surgery and continuing to ride during his recovery.

“I’m riding this year to continue my support of the American Cancer Society,” he said. “I appreciate all the assistance they gave to me in my time of need. I want to give back by enabling the Society to support even more cancer patients in the future.”

Jack Frank, Milford

Frank joined the Hope Ride in 2008 for the chance to ride between the two cities, but he became hooked by the reason behind the ride.

“I discovered an incredible group of volunteers, riders and survivors committed to eliminating cancer and helping families to deal with the disease,” he remembered. “My focus changed from a biking challenge to a challenge of helping others fight cancer. It was four days of incredible emotion, lifelong friends, belly-laughter and beautiful scenery. I now see myself as being a Society volunteer for life.”

Alan Weinstein, Milford

“In 2005, I lost my mother-in-law, Doris Floyd, to lung cancer,” he said. “With the pain of that loss still fresh, I then lost my own mother, Faith Weinstein, to pancreatic cancer in 2006. Faced with such losses, I didn’t know what to do, but I knew that I wanted to do something to fight against cancer and support families experiencing similar battles. The Pan Ohio Hope Ride has provided me with the perfect vehicle, literally, to actively fight that fight.”