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 2007. 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
2007 marked an important Pan-Massachusetts Challenge milestone.
After years having unparalleled past-through rates of more than 90 cents of every rider-raised dollar going to The Jimmy Fund, in 2007, for the first time, the PMC gave 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to the fight against cancer.
It was a monumental achievement within the athletic fundraising event industry. The PMC continued that 100 percent pass through rate in 2008 and will again in 2009.
To do that, the PMC relied on 4,960 cyclists and 223,000 individuals who made donations to the cause – which totaled $33 million— as well as more than $2 million in corporate sponsorship from the Boston Red Sox Foundation, Overstock.com, MFS Investment Management, and others. In addition, 200 companies provided in-kind contributions of goods and services which aid to the PMC’s efficiency.
“Much of our success can be attributed to that which does not show up on balance sheets—human capital,” said PMC Founder Billy Starr. “The very act of committing to a physical endurance event brings into play all parts of the human equation, and it has been my observation that when a person becomes totally engaged the end result is usually far greater than first imagined.”
The PMC is known for helping people achieve their own personal bests. In 2007, PMC cyclist Denise DeSimone inspired all of us with her journey through cancer that nearly cost her her voice and her amazing recovery that culminated in her singing the National Anthem at Fenway Park.
DeSimone’s life with cancer began just after she struggled to finish riding in the 2005 Pan-Mass Challenge. “I was so out of breath, I thought I was dying,” said the Amesbury resident. “Turns out, I was.”
Days later, DeSimone learned that a lump in the throat, which had bothered her for months, was cancer. Tumors on her tongue and throat took her ability to eat, drink and speak normally. Despite the rapid weight loss, the painful treatments, and the inability to do the things she loved for many months
Doctors feared she wouldn’t sing again, which she’d done as a semi-professional for many of her 49 years.
But on that picture perfect July evening in 2007, DeSimone proved them all wrong as she wowed the crowd singing the National Anthem. “Singing at Fenway Park was absolutely one of the highlights of my life,” she said.
DeSimone’s cancer is in remission and she feels great. In 2007, she rode the 84-mile route from Wellesley to Bourne with nine members of Denise’s Dream Team. She has continued to ride each year since.
PMC 2007 Facts
$33 million raised
215 Lifetime Achievement Award winners named for raising at least $100,000 for the PMC