Roy Walther of Massapequa will ride in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC), the most successful athletic fund-raiser in the nation Aug. 6 and 7. The collective goal is to raise $21 million for lifesaving cancer research and treatment for cancer patients at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and around the world.
Walther, who has been cycling for 45 years, first learned of the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge through a business associate who lives in Massachusetts. This is his seventh year participating in the ride.
"I feel wonderful to be able to do this, because, in addition to my father passing away from cancer, I, myself, am a survivor," Walther said. "I think there is nothing better than to be able to raise money for research to hopefully eradicate this disease in the future."
Walther will join more than 4,000 cyclists from 35 states and six countries who will ride in the 26th annual event, co-presented by the Boston Red Sox and Overstock.com.
PMC cyclists range in age from 15 to 80, and while some are weekend warriors, others are trained triathletes. The camaraderie shared by cyclists, volunteers and supporters, many of whom have been members of the PMC family for more than 20 years, is among PMC's greatest attributes. Nearly 200 PMC cyclists are cancer survivors and thousands of riders have lost loved ones to the disease. Still more ride in honor of those in treatment, including Dana-Farber doctors riding alongside their patients. Nearly 2,200 PMC volunteers will support cyclists on their journey.
"Unfortunately, everyone has a connection to cancer in some way," said Billy Starr, PMC founder and executive director. "The PMC gives people an outlet to do what they can with their despair, energy and motivation to rid the world of cancer."
In the past 25 years, the PMC has raised and contributed more than $122 million to the Jimmy Fund. No other athletic event raises or contributes more money to charity than the PMC, which is among the most efficient nonprofit organizations in the country, last year giving 97 cents of every rider-raised dollar directly to the Jimmy Fund. The PMC fundraising minimum is $2,000 and $3,000, depending on the route chosen, yet the average PMC cyclist raises $5,000. This commitment to the fundraising portion of the PMC journey is a testament to riders' dedication to the cause and their belief in the PMC mission.
The PMC offers cyclists six routes, which log between 89 and 192 miles over one or two days, through 46 scenic Massachusetts towns. Two-day rides include the original 192-mile Sturbridge-to-Provincetown route; 186-mile Sturbridge-Bourne-Wellesley route; 169-mile Wellesley-Bourne-Provincetown route. One-day riders choose between the 108-mile Sturbridge-Bourne route and the 89-mile Wellesley-Bourne route.
To become a volunteer or a virtual rider, or to make a financial contribution to a rider from Massapequa, visit www.pmc.org or call 800-WE-CYCLE. Checks can be made payable to PMC, 77 Fourth Ave., Needham, MA 02494.