Eastie Woman Prepares for the Pan Mass Challenge

Maggie Malsch, an East Boston woman will take part in the annual Pan Mass Challenge (PMC)–a two day bike-a-thon that raises money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Maggie will ride in the 32nd annual PMC on August 6 and 7 and be among 5,000 cyclists who will ride with the collective goal of raising $34 million to support lifesaving adult and pediatric cancer care and treatment at Dana-Farber through its Jimmy Fund.

This year’s event offers a new 25-mile route, which will be added to the 10 existing routes that range from 47 to 190 miles. The varying routes and fundraising minimums make it possible for anyone with a bike and determination to participate.

PMC riders range in age from 13 to 87 and while some are seasoned triathletes while others are weekend warriors having trained for this event alone. “Our cyclists come from all walks of life, from stay-at-home mothers to corporate CEOs to police officers,” says Billy Starr, PMC founder and executive director. “The PMC unifies them with one mission — finding cures for cancer.”

Starr added that PMC is all about heart and soul.

“Doctors ride along side their patients; grandparents ride with their grandchildren; and almost everyone rides on behalf of loved ones lost to, or battling, cancer,” he said. “More than 300 riders are cancer survivors or current patients.”

Starr explained that during PMC weekend, individual cyclists become part of one family.

“The camaraderie shared by 5,000 cyclists, 3,000 volunteers, and thousands of spectators, is one reason cyclists from 34 states and six countries return to Massachusetts each August to participate in the PMC,” he said.

No other single athletic event raises or contributes more money to charity than the PMC. Since 1980, the PMC has raised $303 million for adult and pediatric cancer treatment and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund. The PMC gives 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to the Jimmy Fund, a rate of fundraising that is nearly unequaled within the $3 billion athletic fundraising event industry.

In 2010, the PMC generated 50 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue and it was Dana-Farber’s largest single contributor.

“PMC funding is considered “seed money;” it allows researchers and doctors to finance innovative experiments and conduct initial trials to qualify for federal funding,” said Starr.

The PMC is a fully supported bike-a-thon — with food and water stops, mechanical and medical assistance, luggage transportation, and lodging — that runs through 46 towns across Massachusetts.

“Cyclists choose from 11 routes of varying mileage designed to cater to all levels of cycling strength and time availability,” said Starr. “There are six two-day routes that range from 153 to 190 miles and five one-day rides that range from 25 to 110 miles. In 2011, cyclists are required to raise between $500 and $4,200 to ride in the PMC.”

This commitment to the fundraising portion of the PMC journey is a testament to riders’ dedication to the cause and their belief in the PMC mission.

The PMC is presented by the Red Sox Foundation and the New Balance Foundation.

To become a virtual rider, or make a financial contribution to Maggie visit www.pmc.org, or call (800) WE-CYCLE. Checks can be made payable to PMC, 77 Fourth Ave., Needham, Mass. 02494.

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