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 2001. 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
Riders in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge all had a reason to ride. Whether they were cancer survivors themselves, lost a loved one to the disease or were just avid cyclists, the PMC ignites a passion in its supporters.
But one thing was missing.
That’s where the Pedal Partners come in. In 2001, the PMC connected its riders directly with patients at the Jimmy Fund Clinic.
Dozens of young children, from toddlers to teens, were named PMC Pedal Partners. Each child is paired with PMC team, who then rides in their honor. The children and families become part of the team, and the cyclists find another important reason to keep training, fundraising and riding.
On PMC weekend, a tradition has that grown every year since, Pedal Partners wait for their teams at a Saturday afternoon party – and the children’s photos line the roadway. The children have all been treated or are undergoing treatment for cancer at the Jimmy Fund Clinic. As riders come in to the picnic area, they meet their Pedal Partner and families, celebrate the miles already accomplished and get a shot of inspiration to help them up the hills still ahead.
The Pedal Partner program has been a great success; each year, more and more children sign up. In 2006, a Pedal Partner milestone was met: Matt Bodenrader became the first Pedal Partner to grow up, survive cancer, and go on to ride as a cyclist of the Pan-Mass Challenge.
He inspired riders and Pedal Partners when he spoke at the PMC Pedal Partner 2009 kick off party at Fenway Park in early May:
“The day of the Pan-Mass Challenge, my parents brought me to a few of the water stops to see the riders as they took a short break. I remember thinking ‘Wow! I have never seen so many bikes at once.’ But the most amazing thing was that none of the riders seemed tired; they were all smiling and laughing even at the end. I remember thinking to myself, “If it weren’t for these riders I might not be alive today.” It was that day that I decided that I wanted to be part of the PMC. In 2006, when I turned 15, I was invited to ride with Team 9. I realized that this was my opportunity to help all those kids at the Jimmy Fund and to give back to those that helped me fight my battle against cancer.”
Also in 2001, Katelynn’s Ride, a PMC satellite ride, started in Western Mass.
The ride was started by PMCers Dan Williams, a WHYN radio personality from Springfield and Steven Stark of Agawam. The event was started, and is still held today, in memory of 11-year-old Katelynn Battista, who died from leukemia in cancer in 1997.
Katelynn was an inspiration in her community and beyond. Bone mMarrow drives in her name have collected thousands of samples to help others fighting cancer. Katelynn’s Ride offers participants varying routes from 10 miles to up to 100 miles. The ninth annual Katelynn’s Ride on June 7 will feature 400 cyclists who will ride to raise $175,000. Since 2001, Katelynn’s Ride has raised more than $1 million for the PMC and the Jimmy Fund.
PMC 2001 facts
$14 million raised
190 total miles