Pan-Mass Challenge wants more younger children to participate
By Elaine Thompson TELEGRAM & GAZETTE STAFF
February 28, 2014
The Pan-Mass Challenge is looking for volunteer coordinators in Princeton and other Central Massachusetts communities to start PMC Kids Rides for children ages 2 to 15 to help raise money for the annual fundraiser.
The PMC, established in 1980, is an annual bike-a-thon that raises money to support adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.
PMC Kids Rides offer a way for children to participate as young philanthropists by working to help others and engaging in exercise. The Kids Rides vary from a short obstacle course for young children on tricycles to a 26-mile trek. Some have music, games and food. Others have character appearances, face painting and silent auctions. Young cyclists of different experience levels can ride as individuals or as part of a team.
Justine Darmanian, PMC fundraising and Kids Rides coordinator, said the mini bike-a-thons give kids the chance to join the PMC mission and make a difference in the fight against cancer.
"PMC Kids Rides introduce children and teens to volunteerism and charitable giving and provide a safe and fun opportunity to be part of the PMC's mission," said Ms. Darmanian.
Last year, 5,533 riders who participated in the annual PMC raised a record $39 million, including $1.6 million raised by 350 residents from 41 communities in Worcester County.
Kids Rides began in Medfield in 1998 when 13 children rode around their neighborhood 25 times and raised $1,600 for the PMC. Since then, children participating in Kids Rides have raised more than $5.5 million. In 2013, 37 PMC Kids Rides attracted nearly 4,700 young cyclists, raising more than $778,000. The 2014 goal is $900,000.
In Central Massachusetts, there are currently Kids Rides in Sturbridge, Westboro, Upton, Shrewsbury and Grafton.
Applications are being accepted through March 15 for spring 2014 rides. For more information about the PMC Kids Rides program, to start a ride or to participate in an existing ride, call Justine Darmanian at (781) 449-5300, ext. 300, or visit www.kids.pmc.org.