Two-time breast cancer survivor celebrates 13-year commitment to the PMC

Bill Alfano's picture
Bill Alfano

Two-time breast cancer survivor celebrates 13-year commitment to the PMC

Elizabeth Fregeau, 49, of Portsmouth, N.H., is a two-time breast cancer survivor and role model for women, cancer survivors and PMCers alike. She is determined to live in the moment and is committed to helping prevent future breast cancer diagnoses. This August, she celebrated her 13th year riding and raising money for the Pan-Mass Challenge. To date, she has ridden hundreds of miles and raised more than $89,600 for the cause.  

Fregeau’s cancer story began in 2000 when she was first diagnosed with breast cancer and immediately underwent surgery followed by chemotherapy and radiation treatments at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. By April 2001, she was in remission and on her bicycle training to ride in her first PMC.  In 2010, a routine breast exam followed by an MRI revealed she had developed a new form of breast cancer. Fregeau’s second diagnosis re-fueled her desire to continue in her crusade against this all-too-often deadly disease.  

The following August, Fregeau got on her bicycle to ride in the PMC, just one month after finishing treatments, which included chemotherapy and a double mastectomy.  Throughout her cancer experiences, Fregeau continued to participate in the PMC as a way to support Dana-Farber, the institution she credits with saving her life.  

In addition to physically pedaling to help fund cancer research and treatment, Fregeau also lends emotional support to those who are going through their own battles with this disease. In 2003, she helped to form a breast cancer support group called “Breast Friends.” Since its inception, the group has grown from 10 members to 700 members strong, representing cancer survivors and current cancer patients. Members of the group support each other through treatments, sharing stories and advice by email and bond through participation in group outings, member dinners and athletic fundraising events, such as the PMC.  

“My favorite and most memorable moment from my 13-year participation in the PMC occurred in 2010 when my daughters met me at the finish line when I was bald and worried that I wasn’t going to complete the ride,” says Fregeau. “My girls are usually stationed at the Wellesley start to send me off but my friends brought them to the Provincetown finish line to surprise me and surprise me they did. I couldn’t have asked for better motivation to keep fighting for myself and current and future cancer patients.”

Fregeau’s daughters, Emily, 18, and Caroline, 14, and Fregeau's boyfriend of seven years, Scott, 42, have provided an infinite amount of support to her throughout her cancer experiences. She credits them along with her mother, sister, and brother, as her motivation to continue to live life to the fullest and commit to do what she can to prevent other women from going through what she has gone through battling breast cancer, not once but twice. She continues to spread the mission of the PMC through emails to friends, neighbors and colleagues and by word of mouth. 

You can support Elizabeth Fregeau or another PMC cyclist or team here.

At PMC 2013 from left to right:  PMC cyclists Elizabeth Fregeau, Kristen Morin, Kathy Beam, Lisa Cahill, Eileen DeSisto

 and Christine McCarthy

Post courtesy of Teak Media + Communication