LAKEWOOD, Ohio – Motivated by the memories of his mother and grandfather, both who succumbed to cancer, a former Quincy area man recently pedaled his bicycle more than 300 miles to raise funds and promote awareness of the disease.
Forest Clayton, a 2007 graduate of Riverside High School, now of Lakewood, Ohio, was part of a four-man team that biked in the Pan Ohio Hope Ride raising funds for the American Cancer Society (ACS).
The 328-miles trip was held July 27-30 from Cincinnati to Cleveland.
Facing a team goal of $5,000, the men raised $6,547.01. Clayton surpassed his personal goal to raise $1,500 when his efforts resulted in $2,386 being realized.
Overall, 374 participants raised $858,239.59 in donations and pledges for the ACS.
Clayton explained the donations help fund the ACS Hope Lodges located in Cleveland and Cincinnati. The services at the lodges help support cancer patients and their families during their times of treatment by providing them free lodging, meals, etc.
“I chose to ride in memory of my mother, Barbara Clayton, as well as my grandfather, George Clayton, who all fought courageous battles against the disease,” Clayton said.
On the ACS website, Clayton remarked, in part, “I lost my mother to colon cancer in 2009. She fought the disease head-on for almost eight years. In those eight years, the ACS was a great help to our family. The organization assisted our family with things like travel expenses to new wigs. Mom could not have put up a fight without ACS on her side.”
After graduating from Riverside, Clayton, now 28, earned a bachelor’s degree in Community Health and Preventive Medicine from Bowling Green State University. He is currently working on a master’s degree in education at Cleveland State University.
He is employed as a high school administrator for the Cleveland Metropolitan School District.
Clayton said the riders were supported along the way with rest stops staffed with volunteers. The trail included overnight stops in Springfield and Wooster. Bikers stayed at different college campuses including Wittenberg, Otterbein, and Wooster, he said.
He concluded, “The ride was an amazing, emotional, trying, and humbling experience that I will never forget. I am looking forward to next year’s ride already.”
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.