As cyclists around central Ohio prepare for the 2014 Pelotonia cancer research fundraiser Aug. 8-10, Team Bexley is nearing an important mile-marker.
The group of volunteers is just $5,000 away from having raised $1 million for Pelotonia.
That amount represents the cumulative total that Team Bexley members have raised in the four years it has been in existence, team captain Susan Kondracke said. The amount is particularly impressive, considering Team Bexley is an independent group with no corporate sponsors, she said.
"We're just a group of passionate people who are willing to continually put posts on our Facebook page and send out notes and people respond," she said. "Cancer is something that everyone is contending with. We are reaching far beyond Bexley."
For many of the Team Bexley members, raising money for cancer research is a cause that hits home.
"I lost my dad to cancer 27 years ago," Kondracke said. "Pelotonia is really like therapy. I'm doing something positive. I'm giving back.
"It's empowering, both from a personal level and a global level."
Team Bexley currently has 33 members, but that number has varied over the past few years, Kondracke said.
Each person commits to raising a certain amount of money each year, such as Kondracke's individual goal of $1,800.
Team members raise money by sending requests to family, friends and neighbors. The team also holds group fundraisers, such as the upcoming "Cardio for a Cause" from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 17 at Ignite Health & Fitness, 21 E. State St. in downtown Columbus.
To prepare for the actual cycling, Team Bexley meets for monthly training rides, departing from the Roll bicycle store at 2468 E. Main St. Its most recent training session was held Sunday, May 4.
Team Bexley members were joined on their May 4 ride by a guest cyclist, Dr. Richard Goldberg, physician-in-chief at the Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute. Goldberg, a Worthington resident who lost his mother to cancer 10 years ago, said he rode with Team Bexley to help motivate members to raise as much money as possible.
"I'm here to help cheerlead for the Pelotonia. We're delighted having so many people from Bexley participating," Goldberg said. "I get support for my research from Pelotonia funds, so I'm personally grateful as well as institutionally grateful for what everyone in Columbus does to support the teams."
For more information about Team Bexley and this year's Pelotonia events, visit Teambexley.org.