Team Brielle’s Brigade

A glimpse into how one PMC team turns a negative into a positive with the spin of a wheel  

In the front row from left to right, Annette Werger, PNP, Brielle’s nurse practitioner; Tammy Laplante, Brielle’s mother, a PMC cyclist; Jaclyn Laplante, Brielle’s sister; Dr. Janeway, Brielle’s doctor; Ed Moses, Brielle’s uncle, a PMC cyclist; Marnie Salkovitz, RN, Brielle’s primary nurse;  Bill Laplante, Brielle’s father, a PMC cyclist. In the back row from left to right, Peter Pessolano, a family friend and a PMC cyclist; Glen Witwer, a family friend and a PMC cyclist; Bob Lupacchino, a family friend and neighbor, a PMC cyclist; Paul Cicco, a family friend and neighbor, a PMC cyclist; Stu Ferm, a family friend and a PMC cyclist.

In the front row from left to right, Annette Werger, PNP, Brielle’s nurse practitioner; Tammy Laplante, Brielle’s mother, a PMC cyclist; Jaclyn Laplante, Brielle’s sister; Dr. Janeway, Brielle’s doctor; Ed Moses, Brielle’s uncle, a PMC cyclist; Marnie Salkovitz, RN, Brielle’s primary nurse; Bill Laplante, Brielle’s father, a PMC cyclist. In the back row from left to right, Peter Pessolano, a family friend and a PMC cyclist; Glen Witwer, a family friend and a PMC cyclist; Bob Lupacchino, a family friend and neighbor, a PMC cyclist; Paul Cicco, a family friend and neighbor, a PMC cyclist; Stu Ferm, a family friend and a PMC cyclist.

Inspired by the courageous fight and love of a little girl from East Longmeadow, Mass., Team Brielle’s Brigade continues to turn a negative situation into a positive by riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge.

The team’s PMC journey began nine years ago when Brielle LaPlante, then 4, was diagnosed with leukemia. Consequently, Brielle’s diagnosis motivated her uncle, Edward Moses, 47 of Hampden, Mass. to form Team Brielle’s Brigade, a group of 12 PMC cyclists representing the LaPlante’s friends, family and neighbors. Sadly on the eve of this year’s PMC ride, after surviving leukemia twice Brielle’s cancer resurfaced in the form of osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that spread to her lungs. In August 2012, Brielle, then 13, lost her battle to cancer.

“Brielle was a very strong and passionate person with a great sense of humor,” says Moses. “She loved to cook and play music. Her personality was just infectious.” 

Each year, Team Brielle’s Brigade embarks on the 190-mile PMC route from Sturbridge to Provincetown. As a warm-up, each Friday before the official ride begins, the team cycles from Hillsdale, NY through East Longmeadow, Mass., Brielle’s hometown, and on to Sturbridge which adds nearly 90 miles to their total weekend ride. Prior to the PMC, the team hosts two annual fundraising events: Team Brielle’s Brigade Cocktail Party and Silent Auction in Springfield, Mass. and Carnival for a Cure in Wilbraham, Mass. The team’s goal is to raise as much money as possible to help pediatric cancer patients like Brielle.

“The Pan-Mass Challenge is a wonderful opportunity to take a very difficult situation and turn it into a positive,” says Moses. “It is Brielle’s spirit that drives me and drives my team to continue to do everything we can to help people fighting cancer.”

Since Team Brielle’s Brigade’s inception, the team has raised more than $788,600. On Friday, Dec. 7, Team Brielle’s Brigade presented a check for $188,600 to Dr. Katherine A. Janeway, the pediatric hematologist-oncologist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute who treated Brielle. The money the team raised will go directly to support Dr. Janeway’s research for pediatric sarcoma, the disease that took Brielle’s life.

The team is now gearing up for next year’s PMC ride. The 2013 PMC is set to take place on Aug. 3 and 4, 2013.

For more information, visit Team Brielle’s Brigade’s website:

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Guilt-free Fall Shopping

Vineyard Vines Grand-opening at Chestnut Hill Mall Benefits the PMC

Come have a whale of a good time and celebrate the grand opening of Vineyard Vine’s newest store at Chestnut Hill Mall, while shopping for your favorite cause.

Ten percent of all sales will directly benefit the Pan-Mass Challenge and an additional 10% will be taken off the total purchase. Attendants will have the opportunity to rub elbows with Vineyard Vines co-founders, Shep and Ian Murray, while enjoying spirits, hors d’oeuvres and live music.

Tackle holiday shopping early, bulk up your fall wardrobe or come enjoy the festivities. All are welcome. The Whalecome Party will kick-off on Thursday, Oct. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Chestnut Hill Mall, 199 Boylston Street, second level between Ann Taylor and Banana Republic Women.  

RSVP required, first 50 patrons to register get a free gift! For more details see below:

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A keepsake for PMC cyclists, volunteers and supporters

PMC cyclists, volunteers, and supporters can still help raise money for the PMC by wearing their support on their wrists. With the limited edition PMC bead, specially designed by Confidence Beads™ to match the 2012 PMC jerseys, PMC supporters can continue to help raise money for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Through Oct. 1, Confidence Beads™ will donate 20 percent of your purchase to a rider or PMC team of your choice.

The PMC bead is made of royal blue, lime green and silver Murano glass and is inscribed with “PMC 2012” on both sides in sterling silver. The PMC bead costs $40 and will fit on any of today’s popular bracelets and accessories. When purchasing from the Confidence Beads™ website, buyers can include a PMC Rider ID number at checkout to ensure that their donation will go directly to that individual’s or team’s fundraising efforts. And don’t miss the bracelets made of bike spokes!

The PMC beads and bracelets are a great way to celebrate your accomplishment, thank your sponsors, or recognize and honor someone’s PMC achievement. In case you missed them in Wellesley and Sturbridge, you can go to to order your keepsake today!

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Pan-Massachusetts Challenge drew 5,450 cyclists to ride for $36 million!

The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC), the nation’s most successful athletic fundraising event, drew 5,450 cyclists from 36 states and nine countries to Massachusetts this past weekend. Undeterred by the heat, the cyclists rode up to 190 miles over one or two days with the goal of raising $36 million for adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The fundraising goal was set at an all-time high. The final sum raised will be announced in November, as money is still coming in and donations will be accepted until October 1, 2012. If the fundraising goal is met, the PMC’s 33-year gift to the Jimmy Fund will total $374 million.

“The PMC is unique in terms of the money our riders raise each year,” said Founder and Executive Director Billy Starr. “This group is passionate and committed. If any organization can reach this goal, it is the PMC.” The PMC typically draws up to 240,000 donors.

PMC weekend was emotionally moving. More than 3,000 volunteers cared for the needs of the riders, from preparing and serving food, filling water bottles, and providing massages, to offering medical and mechanical care, transporting luggage and cleaning up after riders traveled through the water stops. The camaraderie shared by cyclists, volunteers, and supporters was inspiring. Doctors at Dana-Farber joined their patients as teammates and rode together with a unified goal. About 320 of the PMC’s cyclists are cancer survivors or current patients. Thousands of riders have lost loved ones to the disease. Still more rode in honor of those in treatment.

U.S. Senators John Kerry (MA-D) and Scott Brown (MA-R) and U.S. Army Chief of Staff (retired) General George Casey were among the 5,450 cyclists who rode.

Senator John Kerry, PMC Founder and Executive Director, Billy Starr, and Senator Scott Brown

“PMC weekend was a great success,” Starr said. “We are grateful to all who rode, volunteered and provided financial support.” Misting tents and volunteers holding hoses and passing out water provided some relief from the humidity.

Connecting athleticism to charitable fundraising was a new idea in 1980 when Starr and 35 of his friends rode across Massachusetts and raised $10,200 for cancer research. Today, athletic events annually raise more than $5 billion, funding crucial programs at health and human service organizations. The PMC leads the pack and is the most efficient. The PMC annually contributes 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to the Jimmy Fund.

Cyclists chose between 11 routes that ranged from 25 miles to 190 miles. Each committed to raising between $500 and $4,300 to be part of the PMC team. Typically, ninety percent of all PMCers exceed the minimum fundraising contribution and one-third raise more than twice the amount required.

The PMC was presented by the Red Sox Foundation and the New Balance Foundation. Another 200 companies supported the event through donations of goods, services and money. The PMC is nationally recognized as a model in fundraising efficiency; it generates 52 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue and it is Dana-Farber’s largest contributor. “The PMC has made what we do at Dana-Farber possible,” said Edward J. Benz Jr., MD, president of Dana-Farber. For more information about the PMC, visit

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Kicking off PMC weekend with Senators Brown and Kerry, and Red Sox wives

Braving the heat this year with thousands of dedicated PMC cyclists, Senators John Kerry and Scott Brown put their political differences aside to once again kick off the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge ride at the Sturbridge starting line. Both senators are riding to help raise money for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.

Senator John Kerry, PMC Founder and Exectuive Director, BIlly Starr, and Senator Scott Brown get ready to kick off the 33rd PMC at the Sturbridge starting line.


Senator Kerry is a 10-time PMC cyclists who is also a survivor of prostate cancer and whose wife, Teresa Heinz, has battled breast cancer. Senator Brown is returning for his third year. Also joining the senators on the ride this year is Chief of Staff, US Army (retired) General George W. Casey.

At the other starting line in Wellesley were Red Sox wives, Holly Beckett, Tiffany Ortiz, and Kathryn Nixon, who came back from North Carolina to rejoin her former Team 9 pals and ride alongside Sox GM Bobby Valentine. For the first time, Stacey Lucchino, wife of Sox CEO Larry Lucchino, captain of Team 9, and 10-year PMCer, participated as a virtual rider (raising money from London, where she is watching the Olympics).

Red Sox wives and Team 9 members, Holly Beckett, Tiffany Ortiz, and Kathryn NIxon gather for one last photo before leading thousands of PMC cyclists at the Wellesley starting line.

Although the weather was your typical hot August day, the dedication and commitment the cyclists have for the PMC, helped them cross the finish line in Bourne, for the first day of the two day ride. For riders continuing to the Wellesley or Provincetown finish line, best of luck and stay hydrated.

Great work for all PMCers and volunteers!


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Feeding PMCers’ Hunger and Motivation

With 5,500 cyclists pedaling hard to support adult and pediatric cancer research and patient care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, the PMC is supported by more than 3,000 volunteers that help to supply the resources to fuel their ride. How much does it actually take to fuel 5,500 riders for two days and up to 190 miles? Well…

19,000 bananas
14,000 bags of trail mix
9,800 hamburgers
7,000 cliff bars
6,800 slices of pizza
5,500 hot dogs
3,000 bagels
3,000 pounds of chicken
1,600 loaves of bread
1,400 pounds of pasta
1,300 pounds of peanut butter
500 pounds sliced turkey
500 pounds sliced ham
275 watermelons
and, 160 kegs of Harpoon beer.

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Download WCVB’s App for PMC Weekend

Share your ride experiences and keep track of the weather by downloading WCVB’s app for iPhone and Android.  The app features an easy-to-use interface to take photos and immediately upload them to WCVB’s  U Local section.

All photos taken from the PMC route will be featured on and some will be used on television.  WCVB’s interactive radar on mobile will allow you to keep up-to-date on the weather should storms develop.  Just search “WCVB” in the app store to find the download.


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#PMCRideFinds: Ride, Find, Share

There are only two more weekends before THE weekend you’ve been anticipating, the 33rd annual PMC. As you venture out on your remaining training rides, show the PMC what you see during each ride.

The PMC launched its first ever, #PMCRideFinds campaign, a Twitter hashtag campaign that will offer people a glimpse into what PMC riders experience during their training rides. During your ride, take photos of things you find interesting, locations you visit, and even people you meet along the way. Then, upload these photos to Facebook and Twitter with the #PMCRideFinds hashtag. The goal is to have #PMCRideFinds become a trending topic on Twitter leading up to PMC weekend to raise awareness about the PMC and its mission. Riders are also encouraged to include a link to their PMC profile page so people who see your tweet can easily make donations to your ride.

#PMCRideFinds is a unique campaign in which PMCers are utilizing social media to tell a story beyond fundraising letters, emails, bake sales, etc. Your training rides are taking you to places your car will never be able to. And what better way to memorialize these moments than to take a photo and share it with others? By photographing the distances you travel from your hometown, the beautiful scenery you uncover on your early morning rides, and the new people you meet on your bike, you can help to share your story and journey to non-cyclists.

For those with an Instagram and a Pinterest account, you can post the photos on these sites, with the #PMCRideFinds hashtag to expand your reach beyond the PMC community. Be sure to follow the PMC’s Pinterest account so we can pin your photos to the #PMCRideFinds board.

When posting photos to your social media networks, don’t forget to write a brief description about what your photograph is, or how you came upon the scenery, etc. Also, if you’re a PMCer who sees a post of another PMCer’s #PMCRideFinds photos, please share and retweet to your followers, in hopes to create a viral campaign that will inspire fellow cyclists and potential donors while raising awareness, days before the 33rd annual PMC event.

If you have any questions, contact Lilian Ma at

Best of luck on your remaining training rides!

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Bobby Valentine receives his first PMC Jersey

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine will ride in his first PMC on Aug. 4.

Today, PMC Founder and Executive Director Billy Starr and New Balance CEO and 6-year PMC rider Rob DeMartini presented Valentine with his PMC jersey and welcomed him to the team.

New Balance and the Boston Red Sox are co-presenting sponsors of the 33rd annual Pan-Mass Challenge.


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PMCer Launches Who Says I Can’t TV

Jothy Rosenberg, 55, is a nine-year PMCer, cancer survivor, author, and a disabled athlete, who overcame many obstacles after losing a leg and a lung to osteogenic sarcoma at the age of 16. Since then, he has made it his mission to share the stories of many like him who have taken on challenges head on and become athletes.

Through his YouTube channel, Who Says I Can’t, Rosenberg will interview other disabled athletes who have trained for marathons, triathlons, and even the Paralympics for Team USA.

Subscribe to Who Says I Can’t TV on YouTube to watch his most recent interviews and to hear the inspirational stories of disabled athletes across the country.

Rosenberg aims to raise $7,500 for the PMC.

Please share his YouTube channel to support a fellow PMCer on his quest to feature motivating stories of disabled athletes around the country. Who Says I Can’t TV link:

Watch the Who Says I Can’t Series Introduction here:

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