At Cardinal Health, we’re passionate about giving back to the communities where we live and work, and we’re particularly committed to Pelotonia, an organization with a straight forward goal – end cancer. Our company has been a notable funding partner of Pelotonia since the organization’s inception in 2008. Each August, Pelotonia hosts a three-day experience that unites thousands of people in Central Ohio to bike, donate, volunteer, or cheer on the cyclists – all to raise awareness and life-saving funds for cancer research. Hundreds of our employees participate each year and, combined with contributions from Cardinal Health and our Foundation, have donated more than $3 million to Pelotonia.
“As a cancer survivor, I’m very proud of the work Pelotonia drives to fund innovative research,” said Victor Crawford, CEO of our Pharmaceutical segment, and member of the Pelotonia Board of Directors. “And, as a Black man, I share Pelotonia’s commitment to ensuring that research funding is equitably dispersed in order to address disparities in cancer care.”
According to the research journal Nature Cancer, racial and ethnic “inequalities are prevalent across the spectrum of cancer research and patient care,” and impact access to and quality of care, cancer prevention diagnoses and health outcomes. In America, Black and African Americans experience higher cancer death rates than Whites, according to the National Cancer Institute. And Black and African Americans and Native Americans are underrepresented in clinical trials, even when the drugs being tested are for cancers that disproportionately impact these populations, according to ProPublica.
Among Pelotonia’s key priorities are investing in cancer research initiatives designed to reduce health disparities, and forging a more inclusive path to research dollars for talented scientists from underrepresented populations in the medical community.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed the disparities in cancer care around the world. That’s why Pelotonia has pledged $1 million to support research for COVID-19’s effect on the cancer community, including a research study to determine how COVID-19 impacts the immune system of cancer patients. The study, known as SIIREN (Study of Infections and Immune REspoNse), aims to advance the scientific community’s understanding of how effective the COVID-19 vaccine is for preventing COVID-19 infection, determine if the vaccine is less effective in cancer patients receiving certain therapies and determine how long the immunity lasts. (There is no peer reviewed published data available on how cancer therapy affects the vaccine’s efficacy because patients in active therapy were excluded from vaccine trials. However, it is widely recommended that all cancer patients be vaccinated.) Patients who are currently in treatment or have been treated for cancer at The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center – Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute (OSUCCC – James) may qualify for the COVID-19 study. Learn more here.
Pelotonia is partnering with the American Cancer Society and Pfizer to help fund Turning the Page on Breast Cancer, an initiative designed to address the disparately high breast cancer death rates among Ohio’s African American women. The program will provide breast cancer risk assessment and facilitate adherence to appropriate screenings based on personal risk – including helping those women who are at greater risk access genetic counseling and recommended testing.
“Pelotonia is about raising money for equitable and pioneering research and lifesaving clinical trials,” Crawford said. “I’m incredibly grateful for the part our organization plays in this mission and for the hundreds of Cardinal Health employees who support Pelotonia each year – helping to raise funds to improve cancer research for all.”
All participant-raised funds go to cancer research at OSUCCC – James. The positive impact of that research is felt around the world. To learn more, or to make a donation, please visit pelotonia.org.
Top of page: Pelotonia CEO Doug Ulman (left) and Victor Crawford challenged each other to a stationary bike race during a mostly virtual Pelotonia kickoff earlier this year.
Above right: Cardinal Health employees participating in Pelotonia 2021.