When Clintonville resident John Robinson was diagnosed with leukemia in 1985, his odds of surviving were estimated at 35 percent.

Robinson, 47, beat those odds, and that good fortune came with two powerful realizations.

First, he said, a lot of people don't survive cancer, including some he knew personally.

Second, the only reason his treatment was successful was through donations and fundraising efforts by people as far back as the late 1970s, when the statistics for overcoming leukemia were grim.

Robinson, now a banking consultant, will ride in Pelotonia for his second consecutive year when he pedals the 180-mile route from Columbus to Gambier and back to New Albany over two days.

His goal, he said, is to bring the figure for leukemia survival, now up to around 80 percent, all the way to 100 percent.

"The way I look at it is I have to pay it back to those people," he said of the donors who helped pay for the research that led to his treatment.

Robinson once again will ride as a member of the Purple TuTu Society, which he started in honor of a close friend who died from cancer.

Dan Weisenbach was the "friendliest guy in the room, never heard him say a negative thing about anyone," Robinson said.

The two were scheduled to ride together in a charity fundraiser, and whoever reached the target amount for donations first got to present the other with a purple ballet dancer's dress to wear.

But Weisenbach got cancer, and Robinson instead rode with Weisenbach's son.

Prior to last year's Pelotonia, Robinson organized a group of riders to don purple tutus and ride from Whetstone Park to the James Cancer Hospital as a way of demonstrating their hope that Weisenbach, by then a patient, would survive.

In November, Robinson said he went to the James to give Weisenbach's wife a break from staying at her husband's bedside.

Robinson said he promised Weisenbach two things during that visit. First, he said, he would help look after the man's family; second, he would start a Pelotonia team in honor of his dying friend.

The Purple Tutu Cycling team had about 40 riders and volunteers for Pelotonia 2016, and they collectively raised $95,000, Robinson said.

"Being a cancer survivor, I can't donate blood," he said. "I can't donate platelets, bone marrow, stem cells, any of that.

"So the only way I can pay back is through donating my sweat."

kparks@thisweeknews.com

@KevinParksTW1