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 1998. 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.
Send your PMC story to Stephanie@teakmedia.com
30 years in 30 weeks
Todd Miller was a Pan-Massachusetts Challenge rider since 1981 and became the PMC’s poster boy, symbolizing health and normalcy after cancer. Todd was a two-time cancer survivor of Hodgkin’s disease and lived 23 years cancer-free.
Todd was 14 when he was first treated At Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and he was 25 when he met PMC Founder Billy Starr in 1980, shortly after the first PMC took place. Todd told Billy that he would ride the PMC as long as he lived because he owed his life to Dana-Farber.
“Riding countless miles together, we schemed and dreamed of a PMC of this proportion,” Billy said of Todd in 1998. “Throughout the 80’s, it was tradition for Todd to take me out on my last Wednesday night ride before the event. He was a safe haven of skill and camaraderie, a perfect complement to my impetuousness and restless energy.”
Over the years, Todd made numerous PMC contributions:
Todd participated in the PMC from 1981 to 1997
He recorded public service announcements, countless interviews and recorded a testimonial for three PMC videos
He raised $220,000 for The Jimmy Fund, making him the 6th largest fundraiser in PMC history in 1998
He helped develop the classic route form Sturbridge to Provincetown
He recruited dozens of new PMC riders
His 1981 PMC t-shirt was retired into the showcase on the PMC Bridge to Progress at Dana-Farber
In 1996, Todd was diagnosed with lung cancer. He still rode the PMC in 1997. Todd died from cancer in the summer of 1998, just five weeks before the PMC.
Todd touched the lives of many PMCers.
PMC veteran Barry Kraft said, “Todd was a big part of the early success of the ride and was my bicycling mentor. He provided the inspiration for me to keep riding year after year, even when I wasn’t in the best shape. To this day, I ride with a memento from Todd on my bike.”
The ride of 1998 included special tribute to Todd. One mile of the event – Sunday morning crossing of the Bourne Bridge – was named “Miller’s Mile,” adorned with a picture of Todd and a notation.
“Todd considered himself lucky: Lucky to have found (his wife) Val and lucky to have found the PMC and made it his lifetime mission. It was his way of saying ‘thank you’ to the hospital that gave him his extended life,” Billy said to riders during the 1998 opening ceremony.
PMC 1998 facts
734 Heavy Hitters
190 total miles