Giving back at 13: Meet the PMC’s youngest Living Proof rider

Sam Mahler knows the PMC well. He’s been a Pedal Partner and rides in the PMC Kids Rides. His dad, Mike, has been a rider and Heavy Hitter for nine years. His mom, Renee, is a PMC volunteer massage therapist. And his older sister Ilana is also PMC volunteer.

It was Sam and his battle with cancer that prompted his family to make the PMC their cause.

But this year is different. At 13, Sam is old enough to compete in the “big” ride on PMC weekend. Sam is this year’s youngest cancer survivor riding in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge.

Instead of cheering on his dad, Sam will be pedaling himself. Sam will bike 50 miles on Sunday Aug. 7 in the PMC’s special one day teen ride to and from Wellesley.

“Every other day, me and my dad have been going out for rides,” Sam told his local newspaper. “We’ll do a 10- or 20-miler and I want to do this on my own.”

In 2002, Sam was diagnosed with mucoepidermoid carcinoma, a rare cancer in children. Following many surgeries and treatments at Dana-Farber and Children’s Hospital, Sam is now cancer free.

He will ride the PMC in honor of his friend, Jake Boudreau, who was the Pedal Partner for Team LEGS, the PMC team started by Mike Mahler. Jake died of cancer in 2010. Sam is raising money for neuroblastoma research in Jake’s memory and for the Perini Clinic at DFCI, a program for childhood cancer survivors.

But Sam has his sights set further. When he turns 15 – the minimum age for the PMC’s two-day rides – he’ll be biking 190 miles in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge.

Hear more from Sam today during the 5 p.m. newscast of WBZ TV Channel 4. Donate to Sam’s ride here.

Sam sits in the WBZ anchor chair, alongside his dad, Mike, and WBZ anchor and PMC rider David Wade

UPDATE: Sam will also be part of the PMC Wellesley Sunday start. He’ll lead the countdown to the start of the Sunday ride along with speakers Jeff Rimpas, PMC Head Staff and Rider, and Sam Kennedy, Executive VP/COO, Boston Red Sox). Krystn Cinelli will sing the National Anthem.

There will be 447 riders in the one-day Wellesley ride on Sunday, Aug. 7. More than 5,000 cyclists will ride between 25 and 190 miles over one or two days in the 32nd annual PMC Aug. 6-7.

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