Associates Ride the Extra Mile for Cancer Research

Celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Pelotonia, 20 Honda associates and their families teamed up in this year’s three-day cycling fundraiser for cancer research.

“My wife is a 16-year breast cancer survivor,” said Rich Shannon, senior manager of North American Service Technical – Ohio (NASTO), an American Honda (AHM) department based in Raymond. “This event is by far the most amazing event that I have participated in.”

Pelotonia is a rare fundraiser in Columbus, Ohio, that donates 100 percent of funds raised to the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center, comprising the Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

Shannon, along with Jenny Gilger, assistant vice president of AHM Parts Operations, participated in 2017’s Pelotonia. They both agreed that they wanted to share the event with other Honda associates, especially since Honda has such a large presence throughout Ohio. This year the Honda “Peloton” team representing AHM, Honda of America Mfg., Honda North America and Honda R&D Americas rode various routes throughout the weekend in Honda-branded cycling jerseys, logging 2,200 miles. “We’re hoping that’s just a small start,” Gilger said.

Gilger, who loves biking, said it was a no-brainer for her to participate in this year’s Pelotonia race. She, along with Shannon, rode all 200 miles, thanks to “the right seat and the right shorts,” as well as putting in many training miles. “I ride a little more than 3,000 miles a year,” Gilger said.

NASTO Technical Lead Howard Mazei, who also participated in Honda’s team this year, rode 100 miles throughout the weekend, but emphasized that associates who want to participate next year do not have to be seasoned riders.

“I’ll ride with you next year on the 25-mile route,” Mazei said. “Over my years of riding, this is the most unprecedented, supported ride I have ever seen.”

Shannon also emphasized not just his personal connection to the cause, but also the connection for anyone affected by cancer. “I have not found one person who has not been impacted by cancer,” he said.

“I ride because of a promise I made to a fellow Honda associate, Cory Lunger, who lost his battle to leukemia in 2013,” said HAM Purchasing Division associate Kristen Huener. Lunger left his bike to Huener that he used in earlier Pelotonia rides so she could keep riding in his place. Huener rides 100 miles every year.

“After my daughter Eden passed away at the age of eight from neuroblastoma in 2008, her older brother, Riley, wanted to make a difference, so we signed up for the first-ever Pelotonia event in 2009,” said Rourke Adams, an associate at HAM’s Marysville Auto Plant. “We ride in memory of Eden and continue because of the impact that we have on the Pelotonia community. This has become our therapeutic tool for us in maintaining her memory.”

These personal connections are what drove the Honda team to raise more than $48,000, with riders registered with just the Honda Peloton team raising more than $28,000.

Fundraising for the ride, which took place in August, finished up the first week of October.

“It felt nice doing something for a charity and doing it in a Honda jersey,” Gilger said, “showing people that we are a company that society wants to exist.”

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