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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

This August, while most of us are scattered around the country—and the world—completing internships, summer jobs, and hanging out with family and friends, Kenyon will be filled with thousands of cyclists, all striving for one goal: to end cancer. Kenyon is the ending place and the last overnight stop for the annual Pelotonia bike ride.

The bike ride started in 2008 with the goal of raising money to fight cancer. Because sponsors of the ride cover all of the operating costs, 100% of the funds each rider raises go towards cancer research at Ohio State University’s James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute. People can sign up to ride several distances: from 25 miles to 180 miles, and depending on which distance you ride, you commit to fundraise at least $1,250 (for the shortest distance) to $2,500 (for the 180 miles). The event ends up raising millions of dollars each year, and has raised $107,549,107 to date since its inception in 2008. (Source)

Most rides start in Columbus, and for those completing the two longest distances, 130 and 180 miles, the ride takes two days and cyclists spend the night on Kenyon’s campus. The 100-mile ride and one of the 50-mile rides also end on Kenyon’s campus. Plus, Kenyon has its own team of riders! Our own President Decatur rode last year as part of the Kenyon team, along with other Kenyon faculty, some Kenyon students, and my mom, a Kenyon parent. Additionally, the James Cancer Hospital and Research Institute at Ohio State is where a number of Kenyon students spend the summer researching cancer. One of our peers may find the next cure for cancer, partly thanks to the funds raised through Pelotonia.

Cancer is one of the biggest killers in the world—who doesn’t know someone who has been affected by cancer? Cancer isn’t just one disease—it’s what we call every disease we don’t know about. This year, my mom is riding for one of her best friends, who was just diagnosed with breast cancer. She’s also riding with another good friend who battled (and beat!) rectal cancer. They say at the opening ceremonies for the event that this year you may be riding for your friends or family, but next year you could be riding for yourself. Cancer truly affects everyone.

But we’re also learning more and more about it. Those being diagnosed today are far more likely to have successful treatments than those diagnosed just a few years ago. And these new advances are partially thanks to fundraising events like Pelotonia.

So, how can you help? There are many different ways! If you’re going to be in the Columbus or Gambier area for the summer, or want to spend a weekend back here, and you want to give yourself a challenge, you can sign up to ride one of the distances and commit to raising the designated amount. Additionally, you could volunteer to work the event manning rest stops or taking pictures, or just come out to support the riders! My mom said that having people cheering her on for the entire 180 miles made all of the difference when the route got tough. If you can’t make it up to Ohio, you could sign up to be a virtual rider and pledge to fundraise at least $100, or you could donate to a specific rider. My mom is riding this year, and you can donate to her page here. Even if it’s just a dollar, every little bit truly helps. Or, once Kenyon’s team has their page up, you can donate to the Kenyon Peloton (team) and support those representing our school.

Since 2012, Kenyon has partnered with Pelotonia to provide the ending point for this incredible ride. Yet because the ride is in the summer, when most of us aren’t on campus, many Kenyon students don’t know about it. But now you have no excuse. From riding to volunteering to donating, we can all do our part to help end cancer.


Image credits: Rebecca Frank

Rebecca is a senior English major and American Studies concentrator at Kenyon College. She is from Alexandria, Virginia and has written for Her Campus since freshman year.