Former VP Joe Biden to headline Pelotonia opening ceremony

According to event organizers, Biden will headline the opening ceremony with introduction by former second lady, Dr. Jill Biden. (FILE -MGN ONLINE)

Former Vice President Joe Biden will make in appearance at the 2017 Pelotonia opening ceremony Friday.

According to event organizers, Biden will headline the opening ceremony with introduction by former second lady, Dr. Jill Biden.

Pelonia organizers said this year's event will host a record-breaking 8,000 riders from more than 40 states and 10 countries. The event will have 3,000 volunteers helping to make the bike ride possible this Saturday and Sunday.

The event has raised more than $143 million for cancer research since 2008.

Organizers said Biden created the the national Cancer Moonshot initiative in 2016 with a mandate from President Obama to achieve a decade’s worth of progress against cancer in five years. Along with Dr. Jill Biden, the two established the Biden Cancer Initiative, which seeks to accelerate advances in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research and care, and to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes for patients.

“We are thrilled to welcome two of America’s best-known and most effective cancer warriors to the 2017 Pelotonia kick-off and look forward to thanking Vice President Biden and Dr. Biden for their commitment to cancer research,” said Pelotonia President and CEO Doug Ulman. “Like everyone in the Pelotonia community, their lives have been touched by cancer, too, and we stand in solidarity with them against a disease that has claimed too many of our loved ones. Their contributions to our collective one goal have never been more important and we are grateful to them for joining the Pelotonia movement.”

The Bidens said they are proud to be working alongside the Pelotonia team.

“We are joining everyone who spends their days thinking about preventing cancer, about better understanding its biological basis, about bringing early detection and education to all communities, about developing new treatments and therapies, and about caring for patients and their families through some of the hardest days anyone faces,” said the Bidens.

Pelotonia organizers aid Ethan Zohn, a former professional soccer player, cancer survivor, winner of the hit reality television show Survivor Africa and co-founder of Grassroot Soccer will also be joining the celebration.

This year’s Pelotonia opening ceremony festivities will be held at the grounds of McFerson Commons and North Bank Park in the Arena District. Members of The Greatest Team Ever will enjoy food, activities and live music from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Pelotonia’s opening ceremony program will begin at 7 p.m. on Friday, August 4. It is open to registered participants and press.'

“Over the past nine years, our Pelotonia supporters have become unified around our goal to end cancer and save lives,” said Ulman, a three-time cancer survivor. “Together, we’ve created The Greatest Team Ever – Riders, Virtual Riders, Volunteers, Researchers, Donors, Partners – because as one team we can go farther, faster, in our efforts to make a game-changing impact through funding cancer research.”

Organizers said Pelotonia Riders make a commitment to raise a minimum of $1,250 to $2,500 for cancer research depending on their route choice, with High Rollers raising a minimum of $5,000 each. Riders will head out on Saturday, August 5, for one- and two-day rides on routes ranging from 25-180 miles.

On Sunday, August 6, Riders from the 135 and 180-mile routes will return to Columbus.

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