Pelotonia rider profile: cancer diagnosis at 31 to riding to give back at 33

Local News

COLUMBUS, OH (WCMH)– A Belmont County, Ohio, man is turning his cancer diagnosis at the age of 31 into a catalyst to help others with the same fate by riding in Pelotonia.

“It’s the first year I actually felt good after being at the James Center, and I wanted to do something to help them,” said Kevin Costlow.

Costlow, now 33, started having flu-like symptoms and eventually ended up in the emergency room in the Ohio Valley. A mass was found in his lungs. That’s when he decided to go to the Ohio State University’s The James Cancer Center at the Wexner Medical Center for further treatment.

I thank God everyday it went as well as it did.

Kevin Costlow

During surgery at The James, doctors found a carcinoid tumor on the right upper lobe of his lungs.  The tumor along with a small portion of his lung were removed, and his airway reconstructed. 

“I didn’t believe it for a while. I didn’t believe it until I actually got [to Columbus,” Costlow added. “It was a real shock, and it kind of set in one night in the hospital room. I was just terrified for a little while.”

Two and a half years is considered a quick turn around to many who are battling cancer. Costlow says the swiftness in his return to health is thanks to the care he got at The James.

“[I had] great staff, great care the entire time,” he said.

The father of three is just one of more than 7,300 riders this year who have a similar story, and he is also my cousin. I was one of a small number of people who knew about his surgery at the James two years ago. Costlow kept his battle quiet.

“I didn’t want it to be a big ordeal. It’s something that I thought that we could get through and just kept it private. I didn’t want any sympathy. I didn’t want any family drama around it or anything like that,” he said.

When he posted his Pelotonia link on social media, that was the first time many people found out what he went through in 2017.

“Some of my closest friends didn’t even know,” Costlow explained. “They called me or came over to the house [during recovery and said,] ‘What are you doing?’ I’m just sitting at home on the couch. ‘Why aren’t you working?’ And then I would tell them.”

Costlow said now that he’s hopefully in the clear from any relapses or complications, he feels more comfortable talking about it.

“Now it’s more like, I beat having lung cancer and tumors versus having it,” he explained.

August 2, Costlow will trade in his Harley for a Trek and make the ride from Columbus to New Albany (and hopefully beyond if his fundraising allows for it) as a member of team Ruscilli Construction. His goal right now is to raise $1,500.

Over the years Ruscilli Construction riders have contributed $200,000 to the nearly $200,000,0000 Pelotonia has raised for The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute .

CLICK HERE to donate to Costlow’s Pelotonia fundraising page and to learn more about the 2019 ride.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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