Every year, like an amazing family reunion, PMC Heavy Hitters get back together for the first time since the check presentation event, six months prior. The Heavy Hitter evening is not only a celebration of the incredible efforts of the PMC’s most successful fundraisers, but as a kickoff to the start of the new PMC season.
Last Saturday night, more than 500 PMC Heavy Hitters gathered at the new Yawkey Center for Cancer Care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. There we toured the new facility that opened in the spring of 2011. PMC cyclists raised 15 percent, or $184 million, of the $1.2 billion capital campaign that was held between 2007 and 2011 for the building, staffing, and operations of the new center. In addition to great food and drinks, PMCers indulged in the pride of seeing the result of their efforts.
DFCI trustee, 16-year PMC rider, and ovarian cancer survivor Debbie First received a standing ovation after sharing her story of what it was like to be treated for cancer in the late 70s, “when cancer was a death sentence and no one knew what an oncologist was.”
Her physician at the time, Dr. David Livingston, and today, the Deputy Director of the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center, also spoke at the event. He said treating ovarian cancer in the late 70s was akin to being alone in the dark, in a foreign land without speaking the language, without a guide, and without a road map.
Yet, miraculously, Debbie First survived and last Saturday night, was joined on stage by her husband, Bob First, a 22-year PMC rider and DFCI Trustee, their children, and grandchildren who presented Debbie with a new Trek bike for Mother’s Day.