Ohio Cycling Event for Cancer Research Attracts Two Alumni

August 04, 2010

Ohio_Cycling_EventMore than 25 years after graduating from college, two Saint Leo College alumni will test their athletic endurance later this month during a roundtrip 180-mile charity bicycle ride from Columbus to Athens, Ohio, and back.

Donald “Mac” MacDonald, now of Columbus, and Tom Lavery, now of suburban Orlando, FL, both members of the class of 1984, will be racing in the 2010 Pelotonia the weekend of Friday, August 20 through Sunday, August 22. The grassroots bike ride is only in its second year. Cyclists donate 100 percent of the pledge money they raise to Ohio’s only freestanding cancer hospital and research institute, The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute.

The race is personal to both men.

MacDonald, retired from a sales career, had been cycling for more than 10 years before last year’s ride, but not for a cause. That changed when the inaugural Pelotonia was announced, as he had been under treatment for head and neck cancer. “I ended up riding for myself,” he recalls, with friends from his college days tracking his progress via e-mail. He wasn’t well enough to complete the route, but will try again this year.

MacDonald says he is currently free of signs and symptoms of the disease. He wants to ride this time in honor of a friend he has made during treatment, a fellow patient who is only 14 years old with a diagnosis of Ewing’s Sarcoma.

“Attitude is everything,” says MacDonald, who now spends some of his time volunteering as a patient advocate and motivational speaker. “And my attitude is that I am cancer-free today.”

MacDonald also looks forward this year to the company of his old friend Tom Lavery, who now works nationally in sales for a desserts maker. MacDonald and Lavery played rugby on the same team in college and sometimes competed against each other in fraternity athletic events. (MacDonald was in Kappa Alpha Sigma, and Lavery was a Sigma Beta member.) Now Lavery says he is riding “like a mad man” to prepare for the ride and to support his buddy MacDonald.

“It’s a great thing he is doing, and I’m glad to be a part of it. I do have some ties to cancer––everybody does.”

Those interested in learning more about the race, and in reading the race website pages posted by MacDonald and Lavery can click here [www.pelotonia.org]. Enter the riders’ individual surnames in the search box.

Pictured: MacDonald with his daughter Sophia during the 2009 ride, and more recently with a fellow patient in whose honor he will ride this year.