The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge Pedal Partner party is one of those events that is unlike any other PMC event.
When PMCers and Pedal Partners gather for a casual breakfast overlooking Fenway Park, something magical happens. Friendships are formed instantly. The Pedal Partners show how they are excited, energetic and active kids, just like everyone else. Everyone tears up during the speaking program.
When the PMC cyclists and their Pedal Partners meet for the first time, a bond is formed and we at the PMC are excited to see how all these friendships develop over the coming months and years. Many future PMCers were in that room.
Stealing the show was Lindsey Kimball, a 16-year-old cancer survivor and Pedal Partner turned PMC rider.
Here is the amazing story she shared:
My PMC story starts 7 years ago when I was matched up with a wonderful pedal partner named Dennis Tulimieri.
Little did I know but Dennis would soon change my life and become so close to me that I would eventually call him and his wife Mary Alice Tulimieri, grandma and grandpa. Dennis became my pedal partner a few years after he first started riding the PMC.
He was matched up with me which I now look back on as a miracle because nothing gets better than Dennis. He made my life special again after all the devastation I had gone through.
We have this joke about how we got matched up because you see I don’t recall saying yes to getting a pedal partner. So we joke that he got a call one day that an ugly little girl needed a pedal partner and nobody would take her so Dennis goes, eh I guess I’ll take her I mean someone has to.
After becoming my pedal partner Dennis started Team Lindsey which originally consisted of him and his daughter Lisa but would grow to be an even bigger more loving team over the years.
For the first couple of years, I had always been too sick to meet Dennis, until 4 years ago when I was invited to go to the PMC night at Fenway Park with him and his family where I first met most of the big family.
From the day I met Dennis I could tell I was going to like him. He had one of the biggest smiles I had ever seen and he had one of the best sense of humors you could ever get.
At the game I began to immediately bond with Dennis and his family including: his wife Mary Alice, his daughter Lisa, her husband Kevin, their children Gabby and Kyle two of the five grandchildren Dennis has. They embraced me like their own and I was soon considered an adopted Tulimieri.
I hope all of you here at the Pedal Partner Party get to share this close bond with your pedal partner because I know for me having another person around to encourage me really made the fight so much easier.
If all of you have the opportunity to have this bond than I can assure you that your lives with be filled with happiness. Those long days of training will feel like nothing because you know someone so special is out there cheering for you and thanking you for all that you do.
With me and Dennis’s case, I not only get to ride and support him but he rides and supports me which can really make a difference if its a long day and you’re just not in the mood having this connection can really help you push through.
Two years ago Team Lindsey grew. Dennis’s two oldest grandchildren signedu p for the PMC teen ride. Gabby and Max were officially members of Team Lindsey and the next year, in 2010, his two other grandchildren Kyle and Duncan joined the team and also planned to do the teen ride.
I had always wanted to do the PMC. It looked awesome when I watched the riders those days I would wait for Dennis.
My opportunity to ride the PMC came last summer, as I celebrated 5 years cancer free.
Dennis asked me if I wanted to ride the PMC and I knew I wanted to take on this challenge so I said yes. That day, my journey towards the PMC finish line began. Dennis was gonna do everything in his power to make sure I had everything I ever needed and was fully ready for the ride. I had a custom fitting for my very own bike which I picked out with Dennis.
I loved my bike with all my heart, I got all my gear and the best part was I was finally gonna ride along side Dennis, my hero for so long. I began training soon after and would often ride with Dennis at least once a week and when school was done I would go down and stay with Dennis and his wife and ride with him in his town.
Training was often tough because I certainly had never ridden 20, 30 miles before in my life and so getting used to this took a lot.
Thankfully Dennis was one of the best coaches ever and we would get through every ride laughing, smiling and of course our riding tradition singing.
I loved the idea of being a PMC rider because I had always wanted to give back because of all the people who had given back to me to help me. Now it was my turn. My turn to have the one little percent of hope that maybe we could find a cure for this horrible disease.
I along with my team raised 23,000 dollars to help the fight against Cancer to present with the PMC to Dana Farber. I myself had raised 4,300 dollars of that amount thanks to all the people that supported me and help me make it to the finish line.
When the day of the PMC ride finally came I woke up that morning with my team eager and nervous about the day ahead. I was pretty good about riding with people and riding the long distances but still nerves soon took over. I was given my jersey and that when the realization that I was finally going to do this set in. I joined my team at the start line also coincidentally the finish line and began the ride in a cheerfully excited mood.
The ride lets just say was breathtaking – not just the scenery but the crowds and crowds of people cheering you on as you ride and the route itself was also awesome.
Team Lindsey finished in 5 hours with an hour of stopping totaled already into that. The feeling of finally finishing was amazing. I felt like I conquered the world and it was just the best feeling ever.
I just want to personally as a pedal partner say thank you to all of you for what you’re doing, you should all know you’re heroes in the eyes of your pedal partners and their families. Without all of you riding and raising money to find cures to help us, many including myself wouldn’t be here and so I thank you.
Thank you for taking time to ride 50, 100 ,192 miles, when I know you could be doing thousands of other things.
Thank you for helping fight this disease for those of us who can’t get out there ourselves. As a cancer survivor I can truly tell you that we love getting another shot at life and you riders are the ones who give us that chance.
Pedal partners are the best though because kids really need someone to look up to and when you ride in our name it gives us encouragement and hope. We feel so special because we have someone riding specifically for us.
I know I love my pedal partner with all my heart and I couldn’t ask for anything better and I’m sure that your pedal partners feel the same exact way about you. You provide us with hope that someday this world will have a cure for this disease and we won’t have to worry so much about it. PMC riders especially pedal partners are truly special people.
I speak for many pedal partners when I say that we love you and we appreciate everything that you do.
Thank you to all our riders who participate in the Pedal Partner program and welcome to the 75 Pedal Partners for the 2011 PMC!
Check out full photo gallery here.