Family of girl with cancer says they were deceived by Pelotonia rider accused of cancer hoax

Erika Decker and her family say they were deceived by Pelotonia rider accused of cancer hoax
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We are now hearing from one of the families deceived by a man under investigation for allegedly faking cancer.

10TV is not identifying the man because he has not been charged.

He was a prominent Pelotonia rider who became a hero to many in the cancer community.

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Both Columbus Police and the Ohio Attorney General are looking into claims that he raised money in the name of cancer he didn't have.

Erika Decker and her family know cancer.

Her now 14-year-old daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was just 4.

"She'll never be the person she was before. That girl is gone. Her name is Lily. And we had 'before-cancer Lily' and 'after-cancer Lily.'"

Lily will live forever with the after-effects of brain surgery required to save her life.

Desperate to help in any way he could, Lily's dad became active in the Pelotonia community.

And that's how he met the Clintonville man who some called "the face of Pelotonia."

"He 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."

It was 2014.

The man had been featured in one of the race's promotional videos in 2011.

"When you're introduced into the Pelotonia community, (he) was a legend. You hear bits and pieces of his story, and you think wow, that's just incredible, how can anybody survive everything he's been through? And all the different cancers he'd encountered and conquered. You're inspired by it."

When Erika looked closer at his story, documented on his Facebook page, it didn't hold up.

"Every year before Pelotonia he would receive massive bad news about how terminal it was, how bad and how much it spread, and every year after Pelotonia, it would all be fine. And no one ever really questioned. They just thought he was a miracle. But that's not how cancer works."

She and a friend approached the leaders of Pelotonia in 2015, and the organization severed ties with the man.

Pelotonia says it wasn't until last week they received credible evidence that the man's cancer was a hoax- and reported it to the Attorney General.

"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. He was so intentional with this charade, that I see it way more criminally than I do a mental health issue. And I hope that justice is served on a criminal level. Because that's exactly what this was."

According to a Columbus Police report, a witness tells police that when confronted by friends, the rider "confessed to not having cancer and using the money given to him for living expenses."

The witness told police the rider is now seeking psychiatric help.​ 10TV has not been able to reach him or his family for comment.