By David Saunders, Health Editor
The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) embarked on its 40th ride, with more than 6,700 cyclists from 43 states and 12 countries committing to pedal various distances across Massachusetts throughout the weekend. These cyclists are coming together with the common goal of raising an unprecedented $60 million – $4 million more than last year’s gift – for cancer research and patient care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (Dana-Farber).
If achieved, Overstock.com CEO and PMC rider, Patrick Byrne, has pledged an additional $1 million donation to the cause, bringing the organization’s 40-year contribution to more than $715 million. The PMC, which raises more money for charity than any other single athletic event, donates 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to Dana-Farber as its largest single contributor, accounting for more than 54 percent of the annual revenue of its Jimmy Fund.
Each year, the PMC attracts cyclists ranging in age from 13 to 88 raising critical funding for cancer research and care. Riders choose from 12 routes of varying distance and fundraising commitments, starting from the Sunday morning 25-mile ride all the way up to the organization’s hallmark, two-day 192-mile journey, passing through 47 towns across Massachusetts.
Many cycle to honor a family member or friend lost to, or being treated for, cancer, and at the heart of the PMC community are more than 950 PMC riders and volunteers that are cancer survivors or current patients themselves, considered “Living Proof” of the organization’s spirit and mission.
“When I started the PMC in 1980, I could not have imagined that I’d be biking with 6,700 people by my side for our 40thride,” said Billy Starr, founder and executive director of the PMC.
“I am constantly in awe of the dedication and commitment each person who rides, volunteers and supports the PMC demonstrates each year. This year is no different – it’s humbling to be able to say that we are on track to raise a staggering $60 million, which will bring our 40-year contribution to Dana-Farber to more than $715 million.”
“It is an honor to be a part of the PMC community and Dana-Farber is immensely grateful for the organization’s unwavering support over the last four decades,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, M.D., president and CEO, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, who will be riding the 83-mile route to Bourne, Massachusetts.
“Because of PMC funding, we’ve made major strides towards a cure, including leadership in the development of 41 of 100 new FDA approved cancer drugs and uncovering new techniques for targeting individual cancer-causing mutations through precision medicine. The impact funding from the PMC has made on the work being done at Dana-Farber and beyond in regard to cancer research, treatment and care is truly unparalleled.”
Started in 1980 when Billy Starr and 35 of his friends rode across Massachusetts and raised money to honor Starr’s mother, who he had lost to melanoma a few years prior, the PMC is now recognized as the pioneering event that connects athleticism to charitable fundraising. Today, athletic fundraising events annually raise more than $5 billion, funding crucial programs at health and human service organizations nationwide and the PMC is the most successful single event fundraiser in the country.
The PMC is presented by New Balance and the Red Sox Foundation. Each year, an additional 200 companies support the event by providing more than $7 million in goods and services, and more than 4,000 volunteers donate their time to support the organization during Ride Weekend and at events throughout the year. To make a financial contribution to a rider, visit www.pmc.org, or call (800) WE-CYCLE. Connect with #PMC2019 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.