Ohio State University student dies during 102-mile Pelotonia bike ride for cancer research

·4 min read
Mason Fisher poses with his sister, Maria, at an OSU event.
Mason Fisher poses with his sister, Maria, at an OSU event.

An Ohio State University student died Saturday during the Pelotonia fundraising bicycle ride event, the organization announced Sunday.

Mason Fisher, 27, of Upper Arlington, a three-time participant in the Pelotonia, experienced a medical issue while riding on a course and later died, Pelotonia President Doug Ulman said in a statement.

His family says he had a heart-related medical issue at mile 100 of his 102-mile ride.

"Mason welcomed life and people in with open arms," his family wrote in an obituary. "He loved everything around him."

Pelotonia 2022: Pelotonia Event brings cancer survivors, loved ones together to find a cure

Pelotonia is an annual bicycling event to raise money for cancer research. Riders who participate ride on routes ranging anywhere from 20 to 200 miles. The nonprofit group donates 100% of funds raised to the Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center to find a cure for the disease.

An estimated 6,500 to 7,000 riders took part in the weekend’s riding challenges.

Family and friends remember Fisher

Fisher was a member of Team Buckeye – Spin Doctors Peloton. Fisher was riding in the 102-mile course, according to his fundraising page. He was also a student in the Ohio State University College of Medicine.

His family said he was at the 100-mile mark on his 102-mile ride when he collapsed with a medical issue. His mother, a cancer survivor, said his last words were, “I’ll be thinking of you tomorrow, Mom.”

Members of the College of Medicine planned a vigil for Fisher at 8 p.m. Sunday at Meiling Hall,  370 West 9th Ave., where they will ride 2.9 miles — the remainder of his ride — in his memory and will hold a candlelight vigil around 8:30 p.m.

Fisher attended Immaculate Conception School, St. Charles Preparatory School and Bishop Watterson High School, and according to his family, graduated from OSU with a biomedical sciences undergraduate degree. He was planning to begin his second year as a medical student on Monday.

Fisher had Li-Fraumeni syndrome, a rare genetic disease that causes predisposition to cancer, and for several years he was a guest speaker for first-year medical students about familial genetic cancers.

Fisher loved golf trips, boating, trivia night and March Madness festivities. His family said he hoped to be a surgeon.

According to his Pelotonia fundraising page, 2022 was his first year since 2014 riding in the Pelotonia. He was riding this year in memory of a friend he lost in 2021 to colorectal cancer.

“For the loved ones we have lost, for those that continue to fight, and for those that will fight in the future,” Fisher wrote on his fundraising page. “Every penny donated will go straight to this fight against cancer and will improve outcomes for all those affected.”

Fisher’s page has raised over $8,000 dollars of an initial $2,000 goal as of Sunday afternoon, with most of the contributions coming since Saturday.

Elias Maloof, 23, said that while he had not known Fisher for very long, they became fast friends during the Pelotonia. He said they spent around seven hours talking and bonding.

“He talked about how much he loved the operating room, and how much he wanted to be doing surgery himself,” Maloof said.

Mason Fisher, front, and Elias Maloof, rear, in a selfie taken at around the 20-mile mark of the ride.
Mason Fisher, front, and Elias Maloof, rear, in a selfie taken at around the 20-mile mark of the ride.

Maloof said Fisher's character stood out over the weekend, and said he was always seeking to include people before and during the ride.

“The thing that stuck out to me most the only thing he wanted to do was finish, he just kept asking to get back on the bike,” Maloof said.

Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson expresses condolences

In a statement, Ohio State University President Kristina Johnson expressed her condolences to the family.

“We are heartbroken by the loss of Mason, who was selflessly riding in Pelotonia to help cancer patients – a cause he was personally connected to,” Johnson said. “The death of a student impacts the entire Buckeye Family and I know that all of us send our deepest expressions of sympathy to his parents, family, and friends.”

Ulman said Pelotonia would observe a moment of silence before Sunday's events.

Cole Behrens is a reporter at The Columbus Dispatch covering public safety and breaking news. You can reach him at CBehrens@dispatch.com or find him on Twitter at @Colebehr_report

This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State medical student Mason Fisher dies during Pelotonia