My Why
Monda DeWeese - Mary Hyatt Courage Award

By The Pelotonia Team|December 13, 2022

The Mary Hyatt Courage Award recognizes a cancer survivor who embodies courage, perseverance and grit and has been instrumental in advancing the Pelotonia mission through grassroots activism, leadership, fundraising, and volunteerism.

About Monda 
Monda and her family have participated in all 14 Pelotonia Ride Weekends as Lead Volunteers. They have been there from the first routes that came through their town of Nelsonville, to recent years downtown. Prior to Monda’s first year as a Lead Volunteer, she remembers sitting in the Pelotonia office for many nights planning routes, trying to determine what on earth a Water Monster was and the appropriate ratio of Gatorade mix. She has often said that Pelotonia fuels her. Without question, Monda keeps returning because of the camaraderie of the Pelotonia family.  
What does this cause mean to you? 
I grew up in a multigenerational family where we took care of each other. Growing up, seven of my family members battled cancer. Then my husband, Bill, began his fight of 17 recurrences of bladder cancer in 15 years, and then my Melanoma battle began in 2015. My passion and commitment come from my family, it’s just how I learned to be truly present during the fight. That is not all of my why - our family has long known that research is where it‘s at. We participate so that our daughter, Parker, doesn’t have to fight, so our future grandchildren and the generations of our family we won’t ever even get to meet don’t have to fight.  
What’s your favorite part of Ride Weekend? 
Once many questions have been asked and answered, just before the first riders are moved from staging into the chute, I sneak away and head to the top of a parking garage and look out.  I look out at all the Riders as far as I can see, Volunteers making sure the Riders’ experience is the best they can make it, and the Pelotonia staff ensuring a smooth Ride - and what I see is the very best of humanity, the potential of what we can be if we all worked together for One Goal. I challenge anyone who looks out over the start line to believe our goal to end cancer is unattainable. 
What else would you like to share with the community? 
I retired after 31 years as the Executive Director of a correctional facility. Before that, I co-owned and operated a photography studio and camera shop for seven years. I have served three terms as the President of the Athens Herb Guild - personally growing herbs for culinary and crafting uses. My hobbies are photography, scrapbooking, paper crafting, and preserving stories for those who follow.  
100% of participant-raised funds go to innovative cancer research.

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