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Weston cyclists tackle Pan-Mass Challenge this weekend

Pan-Massachusetts Challenge

Photo credit pmc.org

Seventy-seven residents of Fairfield County will pedal in the 33rd annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge on Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4 and 5, joining 5,500 cyclists in a bike-a-thon to raise $36 million to support adult and pediatric cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.

Bruce Daigh, Nancy Daigh and Robert Winslow of Weston are in the field.

PMC riders range in age from 13 to 88. Some are seasoned triathletes while others are weekend warriors having trained for this event alone. Most participants ride in honor of a family member or friend lost to, or being treated for, cancer. The average PMC cyclist trains for three months, solicits 40 sponsors, and raises more than $6,000.

More than 300 riders are cancer survivors or current patients.

“The PMC is the gold standard of athletic fund-raising events,” said Billy Starr, Pan-Massachusetts Challenge founder and executive director. “PMCers are as committed to raising money for cancer research as they are to pedaling the miles. PMC cyclists are all heart and soul.”

Since 1980, the PMC has raised $338 million for adult and pediatric cancer research and patient care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund. The PMC gives 100% of every rider-raised dollar directly to the Jimmy Fund, a rate of fund raising that is nearly unequaled within the $3 billion athletic fund-raising event industry. In 2011, the PMC raised $35 million, accounting for nearly 20 percent of the philanthropic support of Dana-Farber. More than 230,000 individual contributions were made to last year’s PMC fund-raising campaign.

The PMC is a fully supported bike-a-thon — with food and water stops, mechanical and medical assistance, luggage transportation and lodging — that runs through 46 towns across Massachusetts. Cyclists choose from 11 routes of varying mileage designed to cater to all levels of cycling strength and time availability. There are six two-day routes that range from 153 to 190 miles and five one-day rides that range from 25 to 110 miles.

In 2012, cyclists are required to raise between $500 and $4,300 to ride in the PMC. “This commitment to the fundraising portion of the PMC is a testament to riders’ dedication to the cause and their belief in the PMC mission,” according to a press release.

The Pan-Mass Challenge is presented by the Red Sox Foundation and the New Balance Foundation.

To become a virtual rider, or make a financial contribution to a rider from your town, visit pmc.org or call 1-800-WE-CYCLE. Checks can be made payable to PMC, 77 Fourth Ave., Needham, Mass. 02494.

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