Tag Archives: testimonials

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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Above And Beyond the Fight Against Cancer

Above And Beyond the Fight Against Cancer

As the Pan Ohio Hope Ride Grows,
so does Team Cleveland Clinic

Partick Surdy joined the Cleveland Clinic in 2009. After less than two weeks with the clinic, he approached the Chair of the Cancer Institute and blindly asked for any and all support for the Pan Ohio Hope Ride.

Answering the call to action for riders, clinic staff went above and beyond expectations.
“The first year I just wanted to get people on the team,” remembers Surdy. “My goal was 10 riders and 30 signed up.”

Today, the Cleveland Clinic’s team growth mirrors that of the Hope Ride. In 2012, 66 Cleveland Clinic employees, patients, and friends participated in the four-day, 328 mile bike ride from Cleveland to Cincinnati. Overall, the Clinic team members cycled 18,600 combined miles and raised over $120,000.

“We try to make it a family atmosphere,” Surdy notes. “Everybody is riding because cancer has touched them. This is an opportunity to meet and build camaraderie.”

As each Hope Ride passes, the team continues to come back and takes a strong ownership in its role in the fight against cancer.

“I’ve gotten to meet a lot of really cool people both in and out of the clinic who are just great human beings,” said Surdy.

Surdy is committed to continuing his role with the Cleveland Clinic team, helping to lead the year-long effort. “Every year I am so touched,” Surdy proudly exclaims. “With the support of the clinic, our employees, and all our riders, we continue to pull more people in.”

“The efforts of team captain Pat Surdy and the 32 other clinic employees in completing this 4-day event are just extraordinary,” said former Derek Raghavan MD PhD, former Chair & Director of the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute after the Clinic’s first year participating. “This is the realization of Pat’s dream and is a great tribute to his leadership, grit and determination. I’m really proud to have been associated with them and to have been able to support their activities