Team Patriots Platelet Pedalers Gives Thanks

Bill Alfano's picture
Bill Alfano

Team Patriots Platelet Pedalers Gives Thanks

As Thanksgiving approaches, many Americans have only two things on their mind: turkey and football. But for PMCers like Team Patriots Platelet Pedalers, the largest PMC team of cyclists sponsored by the New England Patriots, this week is a time to reflect on good health, loved ones, the support of the Kraft Family and the places they have been, including along the 190-mile PMC route.   

What distinguishes this group of riders from other PMC teams is they not only donate their time and energy to ride and raise money for the annual bike-a-thon but also their platelets. The funds they raise are earmarked for the work of Dr. Ken Anderson, the Kraft Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, to support his multiple myeloma research and development of novel therapies.  

The platelets they donate help patients with weakened immune systems that are undergoing chemotherapy. During a platelet donation, a small portion of the donor’s blood is drawn from the arm and passed through a sophisticated cell-separating machine. The machine collects the platelets and safely returns the remaining blood components, along with some saline, back to the donor. This process is repeated for the better part of 60-180 minutes or more until the donation is complete.  One donation can provide enough platelets for a full therapeutic dose for a patient in need.   The team boasts several members who have made more than 100 to 500 donations. 

The team recently hosted a private celebration at Gillette Stadium during which Josh Kraft, president of the New England Patriots Charitable Foundation, and Gary Brodsky, PMC veteran and captain of Team Patriots Platelet Pedalers, presented a check for more than $715,000 to Dr. Anderson. More than 200 PMC cyclists and supporters were in attendance. A special appearance was made by Evelyn Wisnosky, a woman who has become mini-celebrity in her own right. She is known as the over-the-hill cheerleader dressed up in costume with pom-poms and megaphone in hand cheering for cyclists on PMC weekend.  In 2014, she will be joined on the hills of Truro by Susan Barton, her new recruit. Since the team’s inception in 2008, Patriots Platelet Pedalers has averaged 119 members strong and raised more than $4.4 million.  

The team, formerly known as the Platelet Pedalers, was formed in 2007 when it saw a dramatic decrease in team numbers.  Brodsky and long-time PMCer Barnet Kessel approached then team captains Dave and Janet Frawley and asked if they could help.  Within a few conversations, Brodsky and Kessel became co-captains of the team and a meeting between the Kraft Family was arranged by Dr. Anderson which solidified the new name. Kessel stepped down as co-captain in 2012. 

“We are more than a group of people who wear the same jersey one weekend a year” says Brodsky.  “We are family.  Lifelong friendships have been started on our weekly training rides.  Many team members see each other often. Having the support of the Patriots Charitable Foundation is the icing on the cake. Everybody in Foxboro is fully on board with our mission.” 

Although the Patriots Platelet Pedalers have a lot to be thankful for this holiday season, members of the team know there is much work to be done in the cancer fighting community. For this reason, the team plans to return to the PMC next year with the goal of surpassing their 2013 financial contribution. 

“All of our team members have been affected by cancer in one way or another,” says Brodsky. “We have cancer survivors and those who have lost loved ones, young and old, to this hideous disease.  The PMC provides us with an outlet to put our hard rode dollars to work in a place that is at the forefront of the fight, Dana-Farber. We are often asked why we do this year after year and the answer is really very simple.  We want to live in a world that will someday be cancer free.  The PMC is our way to be part of something bigger than ourselves and to help reach that goal. For that we are truly thankful.”  

The 35th annual event is set for Aug. 2 and 3, 2014. Online registration opens Jan. 15. 

 

Left to right: Josh Kraft, President of New England Patriots Charitable Foundation; Gary Brodsky PMC veteran and captain of team Patriots Platelet Pedalers; and Dr. Ken Anderson , Kraft Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Team Patriots Platelet Pedalers at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass.

 

Post courtesy of Teak Media + Communication