Before the start of the game, Pan-Massachusetts Challenge cyclists, volunteers, supporters and members of Red Sox Nation assembled at Fenway Park to honor those affected by cancer.
The event began earlier in the day with air brush tattoo artists, balloon twisters and a stilt walker who entertained PMC families.
Red Sox PMC Team 9 members Stacey Lucchino and Tiffany Ortiz posed for photos with the team’s pedal partner, Bennett Hartley, 8, of Brewster, who is being treated at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In the dugout, before the game, Dustin Pedroia met with young Bennett and signed his jersey.
Red Sox Pitcher Michael Bowden signed autographs for 100 PMCers who won a lottery.
Behind the scenes, at Gate C, PMC cyclists gathered to have their photos taken on the field. Once the photos were finished, the 32 cancer survivors and PMC cyclists waited patiently for their cue to ride out around the warning track in front 37,000 Red Sox fans during the pre-game ceremony.
PMC volunteers took their place in front the Green Monster to catch the falling American flag that unveiled the PMC Logo.
Once out onto the warning track, cyclists received a standing ovation from the sold-out crowd.
Denise DeSimone sang a beautiful rendition of the National Anthem. DeSimone almost lost her voice in 2005 when she was diagnosed with throat cancer. She is a cancer survivor, PMC virtual rider, and new author. Her memoir, From Stage IV to Center Stage is due out next month.
Zak Kraft, 28, of Swampscott, threw out the first pitch. Kraft is undergoing treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. His father, Barry Kraft, 59, of Swampscott, has ridden each of the PMC’s 32 years.
Hartley kicked off the game by yelling, “Play Ball!” along with his sister, Ella.
PMC Night at Fenway Park was a victory for the PMC. We wish we could say the same for the Red Sox who were defeated by the Milwaukee Brewers with a final score of 4 to 2.