Tag Archives: interview

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.

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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!

 

 

 

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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