Pelotonia, known for its prolific fundraising to fight cancer, is now looking into whether or not a prominent rider faked his cancer diagnosis, according to a report from the Columbus Dispatch.
Allegations against the unnamed man, which came to light Wednesday, not only include faking a cancer diagnosis but also keeping cash for himself that was meant for Pelotonia fundraising.
Doug Ullman, president and CEO of Pelotonia, addressed the troubling reports in a statement released on Twitter on Wednesday, and said the organization had been aware of rumors since 2015.
“We are aware of allegations that a Pelotonia rider may have misrepresented himself as a cancer patient and survivor. It is understandable that members of our community are very upset by this,” Ullman said. “We, too, find the allegations deeply troubling, and that’s why we are doing everything we can to determine the facts.”
Started as a grass roots bike tour in 2008, Pelotonia has grown into a nationally known cancer fundraiser that donates its proceeds to The James Cancer Hospital at Ohio State.
Ullman said the organization at this time does not have substantial evidence to support the allegations as true, but that they continue to look into them.
“More recently, people very close to this individual who believed in his cancer survivorship and have firsthand knowledge of this individual’s activities, came forward to allege that not only has he never had cancer, but also that he may have kept some cash donations for his own use,” Ullman said. “They only recently came to believe this, feel betrayed and are heartbroken over it, as are we.”
The statement from Ullman said that based on the new allegations that Pelotonia has referred the matter to the Charitable Section of the Ohio Attorney General’s Office.
“Pelotonia will take any and all appropriate actions, as we continue to learn the facts.”