Thousands to Pedal Across the Cape for 37th Pan-Mass Challenge

COURTESY OF THE PMC.ORG: Riders travel through Orleans during the Pan-Mass Challenge in 2015. A record $45 million was raised last year as the challenge crossed the $500 million mark.

COURTESY OF THE PMC.ORG: Riders travel through Orleans during the Pan-Mass Challenge in 2015. A record $45 million was raised last year as the challenge crossed the $500 million mark.

BOURNE – Thousands of bicyclists will be riding across Cape Cod on Sunday as part of the 37th annual Pan-Mass Challenge which benefits the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Riders will start the challenge on Saturday bicycling from Sturbridge and Wellesley to Bourne before traversing the Cape all the way to Provincetown.

“We ride with the collective goal of raising $46 million for Dana-Farber,” said Billy Starr, the founder of the Pan-Mass Challenge. “We’ve raised a half billion dollars since 1980 and this will be our largest event yet.”

The two-day event will include 6,300 riders and at least 4,400 will travel from the Massachusetts Maritime Academy to Provincetown beginning at 5 a.m. on Sunday.

“We are definitely at capacity but people just can’t line up quickly enough to ride a bike and raise money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and, of course, fund the cures for cancer,” Starr said.

Starr started the Pan-Mass Challenge after he lost his mother, uncle and cousin to cancer in the 1970s.

“It rocked my world,” he said. “We were a close family.”

He did not think this event would become a career as the first event had just 36 riders who biked from Springfield to Provincetown and raised $10,200.

The event is a way for people, who are not doctors or researchers, to contribute to finding cures.

“People needed a way to channel their frustration to show solidarity with people undergoing cancer treatment and not feel so helpless in the face of a cancer diagnosis for themselves,” Starr said.

There are now over 350 cancer survivors or people actively undergoing treatment who ride in the PMC.

“You never could have made that statement in 1980,” Starr said.

The survival rates have increased in almost all forms of cancer since the PMC began in 1980, according to Starr.

Much of the funds raised through last year’s challenge went to the recruitment and retention of world class doctors and the expansion and funding of the Longwood Center, which is a research facility at Dana-Farber.

For the 16th straight year Dana-Farber has ranked the number one hospital in New England by U.S. News & World Report.

“It’s going to take the whole country to help fund the cures for cancer, but for our side of the world this is part of the secret sauce,” Starr said. “And we are trending really well towards our goal.”

To make a donation or to sponsor a rider visit pmc.org.

“One-hundred percent of every donor dollar will do directly to Dana-Farber,” Starr said.

By BRIAN MERCHANT, CapeCod.com NewsCenter

About CapeCod.com NewsCenter

The award-winning CapeCod.com NewsCenter provides the Cape Cod community with a constant, credible source for local, regional, and national news. We are on the job seven days a week. You can also hear the CapeCod.com NewsCenter by tuning into Ocean 104.7 FM.

Speak Your Mind

*


More From CapeCod.com