PMC Kids Rides are underway all over Massachusetts and beyond. And behind every ride is a personal story.
Like the story of the Hayes family of Bedford.
Cassi 13, Meaghan 11, and Mikey Hayes, 8, are all involved in this year’s PMC Bedford Kids Ride. They want to raise money to fight cancer in honor of their father, Michael Hayes, 46, who was diagnosed with tonsil cancer in the spring of 2008.
“We made the decision to keep the kids in the loop from the get-go,” says Anne, Michael’s wife and mother of the three Hayes children. “We wanted to be up front with them about everything, and when the opportunity came to get them involved in the PMC Bedford Kids Ride, they jumped at the chance to be a part of it.”
The children, along with many of their friends, rode with Michael’s name on their bikes. Together the three kids raised more than $4,000 for the 2008 PMC Bedford Kids Ride in their dad’s honor. In the summer of 2008, Michael underwent painful radiation and chemotherapy. When he began to lose his hair, the Hayes children decided that since it was going to fall out anyway, they should be able to style it for him.
“We took polls and suggestions through email and gave him racing stripes along the sides of his head and a wavy Mohawk before Meaghan did the honors of shaving him bald,” says Anne. “We laughed our way through it together.”
Ultimately, Mike had to have surgery to remove the affected lymph nodes on his neck. Staples were used during the initial healing process that left a 10-inch scar on his neck
“We did our best to make light of the situation whenever we could,” says Anne. “We called him ’Franken Daddy‘ and held a contest with our neighbors, friends and family. The one to come up with the coolest back story for the scar would be named the winner.” A friend of the family cast the winning entry: The story would be that Michael had turned himself into a human PEZ dispenser.
Michael got the “all clear” report following his surgery in January. He has returned to work and is doing well. He will be riding alongside with the kids as a route leader during Saturday’s ride.
“I know it means a great deal to Michael that the kids are riding for him,” says Anne. “The community in Bedford has just been amazing we couldn’t have made it through this without them. Now, for them to see us all at this Saturday’s ride, healthy and doing well means to world to us. We will make sure that this event is a staple on our family calendar for many summers to come.”
The Bedford PMC Kids Ride will be held Saturday June 13, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at John Glenn Middle School. More than 400 children are expected.
Also pedaling this weekend on the way to meeting a $1 million kids ride fundraising goal are children from Bolton, Concord, Hingham, Exeter N.H., and Lawrenceville, N.J.
Here are the details:
Bolton is hosting its 4th PMC Kids Ride, expecting more than 150 children, ages 2-14, to ride to raise money for the PMC. The ride will be at the Florence Sawyer School on Sunday, June 14 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Three routes present mileage for different riding abilities.
Concord will have its PMC Kids Ride at the Middlesex School on Sunday, June 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. These young riders, ages 5-15, will have a choice of one of the four routes, up to a max of 15 miles. A party with music, refreshments, a kid’s art show, and more will be hosted after the ride.
Exeter, N.H. is having its 2nd annual Exeter/Statham PMC Kids Ride for riders ages 3-13. The ride will be at Timberland Industrial Park from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Sunday, June 14.
Hingham expects more than 500 young cyclists for its annual PMC Kids Ride on Sunday, June 14 from 7:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Hingham High School. These riders, ages 3-15, will have a choice of three routes up to seven miles long.
Lawrenceville, N.J. will have its 2nd annual PMC Kids Ride this Sunday, June 14 from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Lawrenceville School for children ages 2-12 years old. After the ride, there will be refreshments, music, activities and more.