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Community Connection: Pelotonia + Kelly Nelson

Senior Construction Manager, Kelly Nelson gives insight into his involvement in Pelotonia. Pelotonia is a community that is determined to see an end to cancer.

What is Pelotonia?

Founded in 2008, Pelotonia was established with the objective to fund innovative cancer research. As a centerpiece of its year-round fundraising efforts, Pelotonia hosts a three-day experience that includes a weekend of cycling, entertainment, and volunteerism. Pelotonia engages and inspires our local community as well as participants from afar in order to change the world through making strides in cancer research. Each dollar raised through participant fundraising goes directly to the research being performed at the The James Cancer Hospital as OSU. To date, Pelotonia has raised over 217 million dollars to help support cutting-edge research and development in order to help find new methods for cancer treatment. We got a chance to sit down with Kelly and learn more about his personal experience with Pelotonia and the impact it has made on his life.

Q: Why is this organization important to you?

A: My story is very simple. At age 37 I was diagnosed with Melanoma (skin cancer). Very quickly, that cancer had metastasized and I was given a Stage 4 diagnosis as I had developed multiple tumors. At the time, there were very few treatment options that offered the promise of durable and long-term response, although there was a path that could offer some hope for me and my family. Fortunately, my oncologist at The James was optimistic about my course of treatment and my ability to undergo the plan since I was in otherwise good physical condition. Over the course of a year, we saw promising results and signs of continuous improvement. At the time, my story was quite exceptional. Very few people had such a good outcome as I did. 7 years later and cancer-free, I consider myself extremely fortunate to have been at the receiving end of a treatment plan that at the time was as advanced as could be offered. Since then, through continuous research, more and better options continue to be developed and employed. But the work is not complete. Cancer still very much is a reality that many faces on a daily basis. Most everyone among us has been affected directly or indirectly by a cancer diagnosis. Pelotonia continues to fuel the needed research being performed by so many top-notch professionals in hopes of one day finding a cure. I consider it a privilege and duty to be involved in this organization since I am living proof that this makes a difference.

Q: How has SHYFT become involved in Pelotonia?

A: Throughout my 7 years of involvement with Pelotonia I have been able to individually raise over $11,000 that has gone directly to research at The James. Just two years ago my friends and co-workers were able to help put me in the top 10% of individual fundraisers for the year 2019. That type of support and commitment is unbelievable and encouraging. This year I continue the fight and will be riding 100 miles on August 8th. I once again thank my loyal family, friends, and colleagues for their unwavering support!

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