In honor of the 30th anniversary Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, the PMC blog will take you on a ride through history. Today we continue 30 years in 30 weeks with a look back at the PMC in 1994. We’ll coast through the event’s history, featuring a new year each week, as we lead up to the 30th annual ride on Aug. 1 and 2.
Check out past 30 Years in 30 weeks posts here.
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30 years in 30 weeks
1994 was about celebrating 15 years of sweat, fundraising, cancer breakthroughs and growth.
On Dec. 3, 1994 The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge presented The Jimmy Fund with a whopping $2.8 million during a celebratory 15th anniversary gala held at the Black Falcon Cruise Terminal in Boston.
The theme was “15 Years of Giving.” More than 1,000 riders, volunteers and friends of the PMC attended.
The dinner was fun and lively: videos playing on large screens, jokes flowed with guest speaker Senator Paul Tsongas, and awards were given to volunteers. Jimmy Fund Executive Director Mike Andrews was awarded the “Sizzlin’ Spatula” for his burger flipping skills while serving riders dinner at Mass. Maritime Academy, a role he has held every year since.
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute President Christopher Walsh surprised the crowd by announcing that the new fifth floor bridge connecting the Jimmy Fund Clinic to the new Smith research labs would be named the “Pan-Massachusetts Challenge Bridge to Progress.” The PMC Bridge remains there to this day and is currently being updated and redesigned.
The bridge symbolizes the rapid transfer of discoveries from the laboratory bench to the patient bedside assuring that Dana-Farber patients receive the most innovative care possible, Walsh told the crowd. PMC funds were responsible for much of the innovative research and patient care developed at DFCI.
A few months before the 15th anniversary party, there was a 200-mile bike ride to complete. In 1994, 1,499 suited up for the PMC, among them 496 Heavy Hitters, who each raised a minimum of $1,800. They were supported by 1,191 volunteers.
The 1994 ride raised 22 percent more than the year before, bringing the PMC 15-year donation to more than $13.5 million.
There were more and more personal stories of cancer survivors riding the PMC and family members riding in honor of their loved ones. After 15 years of work, PMCers saw the rewards, as Dana-Farber made huge strides in care, research and treatment with the help of PMC dollars.
Billy Starr also put his PMC emotions into words in a touching and personal letter to riders he wrote in the 1994 PMC yearbook.
Here’s an excerpt:
“The PMC was never meant to be easy. Before I ever thought of creating this special event, life had taught me that pain and heartache were more memorable than a sunny day. So when I sought to create an event that was truly memorable, I included some pain. I wanted an event that made people better as a result of – not in spite of – adversity. That’s my vision for the PMC. It never had anything to do with easy.”
PMC 1994 facts
Event date: Aug. 6 and 7
190 total miles