This article originally appeared in This Week Community News.
Beach volleyball was Kathy Koontz’s game until she moved from Florida to central Ohio in 2011.
Her husband, Alan, had initiated her into cycling in 2010, but the pair did not take part in organized rides until after Koontz was diagnosed with a rare blood cancer in 2014.
“I was treated in the James (Cancer Hospital) for three weeks. I got so depleted from the treatment and the disease that I could barely walk 30 feet,” Koontz said. “And (I) was really in shape, keeping up with people 15 years younger.”
Koontz, a 55-year-old business consultant, and her husband began going on neighborhood walks each night, and as soon as she regained enough balance, she rode around her Dublin neighborhood, she said.
“The weekend of Pelotonia (in 2014) we rode 9 miles and I told him that I wanted to ride 100 miles in Pelotonia the next year. I actually did 180 miles,” she said.
Founded in 2008, Pelotonia is more than a bike ride.
Its purpose is to raise money for local cancer research through an annual charity bicycle tour that began in August 2009. All money raised goes toward some form of research at the Ohio State University's James Cancer Hospital.
Over the past several weeks, ThisWeek's Sarah Sole has interviewed leaders from Ohio State and Pelotonia to learn more about the grassroots initiative that has become ubiquitous in central Ohio.
The result is the six-week #MoreThanABikeRide series that will run through Aug. 3.
Koontz has raised $24,000 in total, including $5,002 this year by the end of June. She hopes to raise at least another $1,000 before the fundraising period comes to a close in October.
“I love the idea that I can pay it forward for the next person who gets diagnosed,” she said. “I love the camaraderie. We are all working together to end cancer and ensure that individuals that are diagnosed have treatment available.”
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