August 10, 2008
By ELLEN FREEMAN ROTH
Challenge offers rewards for many
time for me to come clean.
dozen years I've asked friends to donate annually to the
Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, because each year I bicycle 190
miles the first weekend in August to raise money for the
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I've made it seem as though
I'm doing the hard work, but, in truth, they give generously
and I reap the reward.
to bicycle across Massachusetts on a summer weekend,
catching flies with my open-mouthed smile as I cycle under
the banner in Wrentham that reads "Cherry Street loves PMC
riders," and enjoy the residents serenading us with music,
blowing bubbles, and applauding next to signs saying "Thank
you. I'm a cancer survivor." I get to feel my heart swell as
I see the boy at the Brewster water stop holding his sign,
which this year read, "I'm 12 thanks to you." (How he's
grown!) I get the thrill of coming upon the balloon garland
welcoming us to Wellfleet, to hear the soulful bagpipes as
we cycle through the dunes in Truro, and to catch another
wind thanks to the Over the Hill Cheerleaders pulling us up
a big ascent. I get to feel the unity among bystanders,
5,200 riders, and 2,700 volunteers striving to advance
progress in curing cancer.
seems impossible that we're not curing all the world's ills
with such good will and dedication. But we are making
tremendous advances against one insidious ill, cancer, which
has stung so many.
my helmet to everyone who is contributing to meet this
year's Pan-Mass. Challenge goal of $34 million to advance
cancer research and treatment. Every rider-raised dollar
goes to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and the funds are
especially precious since government funding for cancer
research is flat. All those donations enable lots of people
to have a good, long ride.