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Friday, October 24, 2008

NetJets gift establishes cycling event to benefit cancer research at OSU


As part of the March 12, 2008 announcement to expand NetJets’ Columbus based operations, NetJets made a $12.5 million gift to establish a unique community based cycling event to benefit cancer research at The Ohio State University. Pelotonia reflects this commitment to the City of Columbus, the State of Ohio and the fight against cancer.

The goal of Pelotonia is to fund cancer research while creating an inspiring and emotional experience. Over the long term, Pelotonia will raise roughly $40mm over the first five years. Starting in Columbus, and extending across the state, over two thousand cyclists, as well as volunteers and other participants will enjoy a unique three-day experience while raising millions of dollars for cancer research for The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital & Solove Research Institute (The James).

“This is a long-term investment in one of the world’s leading comprehensive cancer centers.” said Daniel Rosenthal, Office of the Chairman, NetJets Inc. “Our intent is to invest in a new experience that can attract additional funding far above and beyond the initial investment and which lasts into perpetuity to benefit cancer research.”

NetJets is proud to be a part of this unique event and employees will have the opportunity to volunteer during the event and throughout the year.

Pelotonia is inspired in part by the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC), the largest single athletic fundraising event in the United States today. Established in 1980, the PMC is an endurance cycling event benefiting the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. In 2008, PMC raised more than $34 million.

The name Pelotonia is derived from and inspired by “peloton”, a French word meaning small ball or pellet, which is a cycling term describing a pack of riders who benefit from working together. Pelatonia routes will include a single day 50 mile loop and a two day 190 mile tour. The tour will include a “century” ride, at least 100 miles in a single day, with an overnight stay and ride back to Columbus. For participants, the tour will consist of hard work and achievement; shared and celebrated with the community as a whole.

In road cycling races, the peloton travels as an integrated unit, with each rider making minor adjustments in response to nearby riders in order to stay in formation, reduce wind resistance and benefit from efficiencies. Against the peloton, rogue cyclists are hunted down and exhausted.

It is this concept that inspired the name Pelotonia as a way to describe a community of individuals joining together to hunt down cancer. Just as a peloton enables a group of riders to be more successful against rogue individual riders, Pelotonia will enable the community to be more successful in its fight against cancer.

In its first year, 2009, Pelotonia riders will be required to raise a minimum of one thousand dollars. 100% of all money raised will be donated to fund cancer research at The James.

Cyclists will travel from across the country to ride in Pelotonia. Many will ride in honor of a family member or friend fighting the disease. The average cyclist will train for three months in preparation for the tour.

Tom Lennox, former Vice President of Corporate Communications and Public Relations of Abercrombie & Fitch, was appointed Executive Director of Pelotonia in July 2008. Lennox is a cancer survivor, having been diagnosed with colon cancer in June 2007.

“I am a cancer survivor, having fought this disease with help of the excellent physicians and staff of The James just last year,” said Lennox. “I know how critical it is that we continue to make research a priority, particularly the funding of new researchers, many of whom must wait years in order to receive funding to explore new treatments.”

In September, Lennox established headquarters for Pelotonia in the Arena District at 351 W. Nationwide Boulevard. In early October, Jessica Kinman, most recently with a Columbus based non-profit organization and graduate of The Ohio State University, accepted the position as Director of Publicity and Communications. Kelley Griesmer, formerly a partner with Jones Day, accepted a senior management role with Pelotonia as Director of Operations.

Both Lennox and Dr. Michael Caligiuri, Director of the OSU Comprehensive Cancer Center and Chief Executive Officer of The James, rode in the PMC this year, each riding over 160 miles over two days.

“Pelotonia is more than just an event,” said Dr. Caligiuri. “The challenge and the cause will draw riders and supporters from across Ohio and well beyond, spreading awareness about our shared battle against cancer. Pelotonia will not be simply a fundraiser; it will be an intense and memorable experience, having a profound impact on participants and patients alike.”

Pelotonia’s board of directors consists of representatives from NetJets Inc., The Ohio State University and community leaders. Current board members include:

* Dr. Michael Caligiuri – Director, Comprehensive Cancer Center and CEO, James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute

* James Christiansen – President, NetJets Aviation

* Cindy Hilsheimer – Principal, SC Search Consultants

* Thomas Lennox – Executive Director, Pelotonia

* Daniel H. Rosenthal – Office of the Chairman, NetJets Inc.

* Peggy Santulli – Community Volunteer

* Robert H. Schottenstein – Chief Executive Officer, M/I Homes, Inc.Peter B Weiler, Senior Vice President of Development and President, The Ohio State University Foundation

About Pelotonia

Co-founded by NetJets and The Ohio State University, Pelotonia was established with the objective to fund cancer research. Pelotonia is a three-day experience that includes an ambitious weekend of cycling, entertainment and volunteerism. With a goal of attracting over 2,200 cyclists, each raising a minimum of $1,000 and 100% of every dollar raised funding research; Pelotonia challenges cyclists to endure a variety of routes including a 190 mile tour across Ohio in effort to raise millions of dollars.

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