No bike? No problem, says this Pelotonia fundraiser.
For Matt Stoltzfus, PhD ’07, known as Dr. Fus by his general chemistry students at Ohio State, fundraising for Pelotonia is personal. He lost his beloved mother, Mary—“one of the most caring people you’d ever meet”—to cancer in May 2008.
The loss inspired Matt to ride in the second annual Pelotonia, the weekend-long cycling experience that has raised more than $198 million for cancer research at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute over the past decade. Emotionally, it was tough.
“Being at the opening ceremony right after you’ve lost someone to cancer is really, really tough,” he recalls. “Chris Spielman was talking about how we’re not alone in this battle.” The message resonated.
Not only did Matt continue to ride in Pelotonia’s subsequent events, he wanted to eliminate one of the barriers that keep others from riding: getting a bicycle. “One of the top excuses people give for being unable to ride in Pelotonia is that they don’t have a bike,” says Matt. He started a fundraiser in which the proceeds enabled the purchase of 80 bikes in the past decade. The bikes are available for lease to members of the Team Buckeye superpeloton; for just $200, riders receive a helmet, lock and bicycle that they may use to train for and ride in Pelotonia.
As a chemistry instructor, Matt has a special window into the impact of his fundraising. “In the chemistry classes I teach I have quite a few aspiring doctors,and there is a subset of them that want to go into cancer research. It’s really awesome to hear former students come back and say, ‘Hey, I have a Pelotonia grant,’” he smiles. “And as part of that grant, that means they’re going to ride.”