Upper Arlington's Dario Palmieri and Anna Tessari see direct benefit of Pelotonia

GARY SEMAN JR.
gseman@thisweeknews.com
Dario Palmieri is pictured with his son, Leonardo. Palmieri and his wife, Anna Tessari, have seen the benefits of Pelotonia fundraising firsthand. The Upper Arlington residents both work in the Ohio State University College of Medicine Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics..

Dario Palmieri and his wife, Anna Tessari, have seen the benefits of Pelotonia fundraising firsthand.

The Upper Arlington residents both work in the Ohio State University College of Medicine Department of Cancer Biology and Genetics.

"Today, getting funded from National Institutes of Health, especially for young, eager university students, is a nightmare," Palmieri said.

Pelotonia funding started new projects, developed new technologies and offered Tessari a Pelotonia Fellowship to help finish her research.

"For me, raising money -- for me and my wife -- is one of the ways we do our part," Palmieri said. "When we work for Pelotonia and cancer research, that is our passion."

Because of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic and a desire to keep participants, volunteers and supporters safe, Pelotonia canceled its annual weekend ride and events, which were slated Friday, Aug. 7, to Sunday, Aug. 9.

But Pelotonia will go on virtually, as participants have set their own fundraising and activity goals through mypelotonia.org. Unlike previous years, they have no fundraising commitments, no age restrictions and no mileage requirements.

So Palmieri and Tessari hit the streets with their baby, Leonardo, for 2,020 minutes total, which roughly equated to 125 kilometers. At $10 a kilometer, that's $1,250 this year.

"If we can raise more, it will be even better," Palmieri said

The couple, both 37 years old, have been raising money for Pelotonia since 2014. Last year was the first year Tessari didn't ride because she was pregnant with Leonardo.

She credited Palmieri for his creativity in this year's fundraising effort.

"It's not as fun as riding," she said, adding that they frequently organize a sale of Italian baked goods. "This year, we had a really nice time doing the bake sale. The other years, it was also a way to stay all together with the Italian community."

This year's Pelotonia format includes a unifying event in the spirit of the traditional opening ceremony: a special broadcast called Legends LIVE! that will be streamed on pelotonia.org/rise, Facebook (facebook.com/pelotonia) and YouTube (youtube.com/ridepelotonia) from 7 to 8 p.m. Aug. 7.

"As we've had to pivot away from our traditional mass physical gathering this year, our priority has been to create new opportunities for our community to engage and continue to raise critical funds for cancer research," said Doug Ulman, president and CEO of Pelotonia. "The My Pelotonia platform and upcoming Legends Live! broadcast ... allow anyone, anywhere to play an important role in Pelotonia's mission this year.

"Legends Live! will be a celebration of what we've accomplished so far and the important work still to come -- featuring moving and uplifting stories of survival, research successes, musical performances and many special guests."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary