Pedaling for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in her husband’s honor

Bill Alfano's picture
Bill Alfano

Pedaling for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in her husband’s honor

For Marcia Dana, of Westford, the Pan-Mass Challenge provides her with the opportunity to fight back against a disease that took her late husband’s life.  The annual bike-a-thon also gives her an outlet to give back to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, a place she credits with helping to support her while her husband was there for treatment. 

Greg Dana was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2009 and immediately began treatment at Dana-Farber. In 2011, he rode 25 miles in what would be his first and only PMC while battling cancer, congestive heart failure, kidney disease and shingles. Greg’s courage, passion and determination throughout his three years of treatments are what inspire his wife to continue to ride for the PMC. The care and compassion that Greg received while in treatment at Dana-Farber are what inspires Marcia to continue to fundraise for the cause.  

“As the spouse of a former patient at Dana-Farber, I saw first-hand the amazing work that the doctors and researchers do,” says Marcia. “They can’t cure everyone, but, they do treat everyone – patients and their families – with great kindness and compassion and for that I will always be grateful.”  

This August, Marcia rode the 163-mile PMC route from Wellesley to the Provincetown Family Finish. She pedaled as part of Team Dassault, a group of 70 PMC cyclists known for their lightning bolts displayed on the top of their helmets, most of who have participated in the event as a team for the past 11 years. To date, Team Dassault has raised more than $3.8 million for the cause. Marcia has ridden as part of the team for the last five years. 


From left to right: PMC cyclists Susan Warner, Steve Doucet, Pam Sulka, Mike Kempkes, Pam Holland, Marcia Dana, Sally Nelson, Peter Nelson and Susan Doucet at the official Wellesley start.  All but Susan Warner ride on Team Dassault.

“This year was especially hard to ride for me because it was the first year I did not have my husband by my side,” says Marcia. “I am so grateful to the PMC because it is an organization that has not only built its own extraordinary community for its cyclists, volunteers and supporters but also contributes 100 percent of its proceeds to Dana-Farber, an institution that is very much still a part of my life.” 

In April, Marcia, along with friends and PMC veterans, Pamela Sulka and Sally Nelson, hosted a barn sale that raised over $6,000 to benefit the annual bike-a-thon. This year, she set a new fundraising record for herself, raising more than $18,000 bringing her overall fundraising total to more than $91,000 for the cause.  

To support Marcia, or another PMC cyclist or team, visit

Marcia Dana was greeted by her children at the Provincetown Family Finish. 

Blog post courtesy of Teak Media + Communication