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 2003. 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
The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge and the Red Sox became partners in 2003, but the connection between the two organizations was interwoven long before.
Long before he became the Red Sox CEO, Larry Lucchino was fighting a battle with non-Hodkin’s lymphoma. Lucchino was living in Maryland in 1985 and was head of the Baltimore Orioles when he was diagnosed. He looked for the best cancer treatment center he could find. He came to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and was treated by Dr. Lee Nadler. Today, he credits Dr. Nadler with saving his life.
Dr. Nadler has been a PMC rider and supporter for 10 years and has raised nearly $134,000 for research and cancer treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
It was only natural for the Lucchinos, and then the Red Sox, to get involved with the PMC when they came to Boston in 2002 and Lucchino become the team’s president and CEO.
In 2002, Larry Lucchino was a guest speaker at the PMC opening ceremony and his wife Stacey rode in her first PMC, alongside Dr. Nadler.
When it was time to think about the 2003 PMC, the Red Sox stepped up to the plate. The year also marked the 50th anniversary of the Red Sox partnership with the Jimmy Fund.
“To commemorate this milestone and further intensify the Red Sox’ commitment to cancer research, the Red Sox Foundation made the single largest donation in its history by contributing $1.4 million to the PMC over two years,” Larry Lucchino wrote in the PMC yearbook. The team became the PMC’s presenting sponsor.
It was the first time a professional sports franchise became a presenting sponsor of an amateur event.
Furthering the Red Sox’ commitment to the cause, the organization formed Team 9, named for the legendary Ted Williams. Captained by Stacey Lucchino, Team 9 included Red Sox front office staff and players’ wives who rode in the PMC and raised money for the Jimmy Fund. The team has grown ever since.
The first ever PMC Night at Fenway was celebrated in July 2003. A group of PMC veterans and cancer survivors, called the “Fenway 24” were chosen to ride on the field at Fenway Park during the pregame ceremony.
The 24 survivors marked the 24 years of the PMC. With the Green Monster looming above and in front of 36,000 fans, the Fenway 24 cycled around the warning track just before Dr. Nadler and Dana-Farber President Edward Benz threw out the ceremonial first pitches.
A few months later, the PMC was back at Fenway for an off-season celebration. The Red Sox hosted the 2003 Check Presentation Ceremony right on the field at Fenway Park. The record-breaking $16.2 million donation to the Jimmy Fund was presented by Billy Starr to Benz while standing on first base. PMCers got to take a swing in the batting cage and tour the historic ballpark.
PMC 2003 facts
$16.2 million raised
190 total miles