On Aug. 1 and 2, Chris Arnold from Baldwinsville will ride in the 30th annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC), the nation's pioneer charity bike-a-thon that raises more money than any other athletic fundraising event in the country.
Arnold organizes the annual Paige's Butterfly Run, which is held in memory of his daughter Paige Yeoman Arnold who passed away from Leukemia in 1994.
"I first became involved [with PMC] in 1998, one year after the first Paige's Butterfly Run," Arnold said. "Since the money raised by the PMC benefits Dana-Farber and Children's Hospital in Boston, I viewed it as another opportunity to help those who found themselves in the same position as we had been in with Paige. In addition, the research done at Dana-Farber benefits all of us."
Arnold will be among more than 5,000 cyclists who will ride with the collective goal of raising millions of dollars for lifesaving cancer research and care for adult and pediatric cancer patients at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) through its Jimmy Fund. He said he was first made aware of the PMC through his friend Bruce Clark, who also had ridden in it.
"[Clark] knew all about Paige and that she had been treated at Dana-Farber and Children's Hospital in Boston," Arnold said.
PMC riders are between 13 and 85 years of age and are unified in the most important ways - they are driven to raise money for cancer research and they love the PMC, which is all about heart and soul. Doctors ride along side their patients and friends and family members ride in honor of loved ones lost to or battling cancer. Nearly 300 cancer survivors will ride to give back and give thanks for being given a second chance.
During PMC weekend, individual cyclists become part of one family. The camaraderie shared by 5,000 cyclists, 2,800 volunteers and thousands of supporters is one of the reasons cyclists travel from all over the world to participate. Cyclists from 36 states and eight countries choose between seven routes that range from 47 to 190 miles.