In a world of 24/7 news, our social-media feeds often can seem overwhelmed with more negative stories than positive ones.
Perhaps one reason is a recent study by the Pew Research Center shows that divisiveness among Americans is at an all-time high. And that's regrettable.
As the father of two young children, I feel a moral responsibility to ensure a strong, vibrant future for them.
I don't want any child to grow up in a divided America. Our children deserve to grow up in the United States of America. Success depends on a community of people working together, and we, as a society, should instill that knowledge in even our youngest generation.
As the late author and cultural anthropologist Margaret Mead said, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."
Not only do I wholeheartedly believe this. I know it to be true.
Because we experience it daily in our work at Pelotonia, a grassroots organization here in Columbus that raises money to fund cancer research at Ohio State through our annual bike ride.
But Pelotonia is more than a bike ride. It's a movement – one aimed at creating a cancer-free world.
Our community is united around a mission-driven cause. We don't have time for divisiveness when battling a disease that doesn't care if you're a Democrat or a Republican, black or white, rich or poor.
With the number of new cancer cases expected to grow to 24 million globally by 2035, now is the time to double-down on our efforts.
Our community knows that, too.
This year, it rallied in an unprecedented fashion. It broke records – both in terms of fundraising and participation – raising more than $26.2 million from donors in all 50 states and more than 60 countries. And 8,022 riders pedaled their way across central Ohio to benefit cancer research, with support from 3,042 volunteers who made their collective journey possible.
We have made a concerted effort to create a purposeful culture in which everyone can play a role. Our community is assured in the knowledge that together we can go further, faster and be more efficient in our efforts to end cancer.
Data show that research about cancer prevention, genomics and treatment crosses all cancers and our best chance at making a meaningful impact against cancer requires an approach that reaches across the cancer continuum.
Pelotonia is proud to have funded work in almost all cancer types and takes action based on where the greatest need is as determined by brilliant scientific minds.
At his State of the Cancer Program address last month, Pelotonia board member Dr. Michael Caligiuri reminded us that nothing gets done without collaboration and any scientist will echo that sentiment.
Pelotonia is funding tomorrow's breakthroughs and filling the gap in funding in the research pipeline.
Our funding of the clinical trial of ibrutinib was discovered to be a miracle drug for patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia, the most common adult leukemia that previously had a very poor prognosis. Once ibrutinib came along, CLL went into remission in 80 to 90 percent of patients. Although it's not a cure, it allows people to live with the disease in a way a person lives with high blood pressure -- by taking a daily pill.
We're also fortunate to make our home in a city that exemplifies a caring community.
Columbus is home to the largest Race for the Cure, the largest Ronald McDonald House and Pelotonia, the largest charity bike ride in the country, among many other notable philanthropic efforts. This can exist only with support and resources from committed advocates from every sector of the community.
Especially in this month of Thanksgiving, we want to take time to express our gratitude – a virtue that's foundational to our organization not just in November, but every day – to each and every person who has supported us along the way as we near our double-digit milestone; we reach 10 years in 2018.
In President John F. Kennedy's 1963 Thanksgiving Proclamation, issued shortly before his death, he said, "As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."
That's exactly what we're going to do.
Cancer is a formidable foe, a common denominator that doesn't discriminate. We can't let ourselves get sidetracked by political bickering and the noise of naysayers. We want our efforts to end cancer to serve as an example of how to solve the world's most pressing challenges.
We know that real heroes don't wear capes. It's up to us to find smart, innovative, meaningful solutions to ending cancer. And if we do, could we unlock solutions to other challenges?
Imagine the possibilities. It's up to us.
Doug Ulman, a three-time cancer survivor, is the president and CEO of Pelotonia, a grassroots organization that has raised more than $156 million for cancer research at Ohio State University.