Passing the Wheel to a New Generation

Thirteen years ago, then seven-year old, Ryan Wilkinson, of Medfield, started The Wildwood Challenge when he learned he was too young to ride the 190-mile Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC).  He and 13 friends pedaled nearly 15 miles by riding around their neighborhood 25 times to raise money for the PMC.

Ryan and his sister Hattie in 2005

The Wildwood Challenge became the PMC Medfield Kids Ride and is the founding ride of the PMC Kids Rides program, which today is made up of more than 35 fundraising bike-a-thons for children that are held around the country throughout the spring, summer and fall.

Year after year, Wilkinson and his sister Hattie let the Wildwood Challenge through their neighborhood, attracting more kids and raising more money each time. Their success led the PMC Kids Ride to become an official program in 2004.

In 2008, Ryan and Hattie were featured in Better Homes and Gardens

In 2009, Wilkinson organized his last Wildwood Challenge, passing the baton onto two enthusiastic high school students and longtime event participants, Alex Freeman and Cal Given. After coordinating two exceptional events in 2010 and 2011, Freeman and Given must now pass the baton once again as they prepare for college.

Alex, Pedal Partner Olivia, and Cal

Therefore, this spring, the PMC Medfield Kids Ride will seek a new coordinator, a devoted volunteer willing to work with PMC staff to organize the 2012 PMC Medfield Kids Ride. Since its inception, the PMC Medfield Kids Ride has raised more than $149,000 for cancer research and treatment. The ride annually gathers between 100 and 150 young cyclists.

In 2011 nearly 6,000 PMC Kids Ride cyclists, ages 3 to 15, rode and raised $900,000.

“People like Ryan, Alex, and Cal are the reason the PMC is so successful,” said Billy Starr, founder and executive director of the PMC. “They don’t take no for an answer and they are the definition of commitment. Each year we see our young riders set new standards in fundraising for the PMC. They are our next generation of cyclists. The legacy of the PMC Medfield Kids Ride is special.”

Any individual or group interested in organizing the 2012 PMC Medfield Kids Ride should contact Sarah Mercurio at sarahmerc@pmc.org or 781-449-5300 x305 for more information click here.

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