COLUMBUS — A family speaks out, saying they were deceived by a man known as “the face of Pelotonia,” who is under investigation for allegedly faking cancer.
The man, who is remaining unidentified because he has not been charged, was a prominent Pelotonia rider, according to 10TV. Columbus Police Department and the Ohio Attorney General are reportedly investigating claims that this man raised money for cancer he didn’t have.
Erika Decker and her family became actively involved with Pelotonia after Decker’s 14-year-old daughter Lily fought her own battle with cancer. Lily was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 4 years old and now lives with after-effects of a life-saving brain surgery, according to 10TV.
The Decker’s involvement with the Pelotonia community led them to meet the accused man in 2014.
Decker told 10TV that the man said, “You don’t know me, I’m a stranger to you. But I know your daughter is in the hospital, and if it would help, I would love to come meet you. I said absolutely that would be great.”
Decker explained this man was a legend in the Pelotonia community. She reportedly said that his story was inspiring and “just incredible.” He allegedly claimed to face and conquer multiple different types of cancer. The man reportedly was even featured in one the race’s 2011 promotional videos.
However, after looking closely at the man’s Facebook page, Erika reportedly noticed that his story didn’t hold up. She and a friend allegedly approached the Pelotonia board about their concerns in 2015, and the organization reportedly cut ties with the man.
Pelotonia told 10TV that it wasn’t until last week that they received credible evidence that the man’s cancer was a hoax. They then reported it to the Attorney General.
According to a Columbus Division of Police report obtained by 10TV, a witness told police that the man confessed to his friends that he didn’t have cancer and was using the money given to him for living expenses.
“It’s just disgusting. I just can’t imagine what would move someone to ever do that. But it’s reprehensible. When you live in the real cancer world, you can’t imagine someone faking being in there. Because it’s a nightmare,” Decker told 10TV, “…I hope that justice is served on a criminal level. Because that’s exactly what this was.”