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 1999. 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.
30 years in 30 weeks
1999 marked the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge 20th annual ride.
By then the PMC had become a big deal. Dana Farber Cancer Institute depended on PMC riders to fund research, treatment and cancer care. Riders came to expect a first-class event and threw their fundraising behind it. Sponsors knew the PMC led to great brand recognition and support. Volunteers were the lifeline of the event’s success.
The 1999 anniversary ride, called the MFS Pan-Massachusetts Challenge that year thanks to a special sponsorship by MFS Investment Management, raised $8.7 million – a $2 million increase from the year before. The increase was in large part due to the record-setting number of Heavy Hitters (1,004) who each raised a minimum of $2,000 in 1999, though many raised thousands more.
After 20 years, the PMC had set the gold standard for athletic charity fundraising. The 1999 ride was also a year of firsts: a new route launched, the Boston starting line moved to Waltham and New England Cable News signed on as media sponsor.
“With all that change, the one aspect of the PMC that remained the same was the unbridled enthusiasm of PMC riders, sponsors and volunteers,” PMC founder Billy Starr wrote in the 1999 Yearbook. “But it took much more than enthusiasm to be able to present $8.7 million to the Jimmy Fund. It took total dedication to the goal of ending cancer.”
MFS Investment Management took on the role of title sponsor but also much more. The company fielded a team of 28 riders who raised more than $277,000, employees volunteered throughout PMC weekend, and all riders received MFS bicycle repair kits and care packages. MFS has remained a PMC sponsor all of these years; MFS employees have since raised more than $5.1 million for the PMC.
With 20 successful years, the PMC’s contributions to cancer research were also realized.
According to Jimmy Fund Chairman Mike Andrews, numerous advances took place by 1999 thanks to PMC dollars including:
New techniques making bone marrow transplants safer and more effective;
More accurate diagnostic tests for a variety of cancers;
New therapies stimulating the immune system to fight cancer;
Novel drugs and drug combinations to kill cancer cells while doing less harm to normal cells;
Discoveries of genes that raise individuals’ risks for several types of inherited cancers
PMC 1999 facts
Event date: Aug. 7 and 8
190 total miles