Annual Pan-Mass Challenge Coming to Cape Cod

HYANNIS – The 40th year of the Pan-Mass Challenge will bring thousands of bicyclists to Cape Cod this weekend to benefit the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund.

A record 6,800 riders will participate in this year’s event along 12 one- and two-day routes.

The main routes ride from Sturbridge and Wellesley to Buzzards Bay on Saturday. After an overnight stay at Massachusetts Maritime Academy, the riders will travel across the Cape Cod Canal to Provincetown on Sunday.

“Seventy percent of all people, almost 5,000 people, will ride to Provincetown,” said PMC Founder Billy Star.

Last year’s event raised a record $56 million, bringing the total amount raised through the event for cancer research and treatment to $654 since 1980.

The fundraising goal for this year is $60 million.

Patrick Byrne, the Overstock.com Founder and CEO, on Mother’s Day issued a $1 million challenge grant if the PMC raised more than $60 million. The pledge is similar to one he made 20 years ago.

“I accepted the challenge and promoted it,” Starr said. “One way or another we will raise a minimum of $60 million and hopefully give at least $61 million in October.”

Starr said they anticipate about 500,000 individual donations will be made through the event.

This year’s challenge also includes almost 1,000 cancer survivor as riders and volunteers.

Starr said the event has a very passionate constituency.

The event has tremendous support from all the towns, police departments and highway department and fire departments.

“This takes a lot to pull off an event of this nature,” Starr said. “But I think everyone is well vested in the battle against cancer and nobody raises money like the Pan-Mass Challenge.”

Starr started the Pan-Mass Challenge in 1980 after losing his mother, uncle and cousin to cancer in the 1970s. He said he never could have imagined how big the event would become back then.

The first year had 36 riders and raised $10,200.

My story is, unfortunately, way too common,” Starr said. “And we would like to turn that around in a generation.”

Starr wants Cape Codders to roll down their windows and shout words of support to the riders.

“Know that these people are doing good work,” he said. “Hopefully we won’t hold you up too much on your way to the beach.”

To make a donation for this year’s ride, visit pmc.org.

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant grew up in Central Massachusetts and now lives in South Dennis on the Cape. He has been part of the news team in the CapeCod.com NewsCenter since the spring of 2014. He studied radio broadcasting at the University of Tennessee.



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