It's A Slam Dunk! - Inaugural PMC Night with the Celtics

Bill Alfano's picture
Bill Alfano

It's A Slam Dunk! - Inaugural PMC Night with the Celtics

Bennett Olson, 9, of Boston, is a former Pan-Mass Challenge Pedal Partner who grew up following basketball until he was sidelined by cancer. 

Prior to his diagnosis, Bennett played basketball for Hill House, in Beacon Hill, and his school, Mount Alvernia Academy, in Chestnut Hill. His family has season tickets to the Boston Celtics and Bennett attended games regularly until June 2012 when he was diagnosed with high risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He loved following the achievements of his at the time favorite Celtics player, Forward Kevin Garnett. 

Bennett is in the midst of the final phase of his two-year protocol, which included high doses of chemotherapy and targeted radiation. He also endured steroid treatments that left him with the side effect of avascular necrosis, a disease that causes cellular death of bone components due to the lack of blood supply, which makes standing and walking difficult for him. Bennett gets around these days through the use of a wheelchair and crutches.  

The fourth grader is also an avid skier who recently hit the slopes with his family, thanks to the aid of a bi-ski, a sit ski with a molded bucket seat designed for people with impairments. “It was such a wonderful experience to see Bennett back on the trails, so happy, and engaging in a sport he loves,” says Noelle Champoux-Olson, Bennett’s mother. “And, Bennett is very much looking forward to participating in the Boston Celtics game. We are so blessed for the amazing care and support he has received at the Jimmy Fund.”  

The Jimmy Fund offers several ways for families to become involved in local events that distract them from their cancer treatments. Bennett took part in the 2013 PMC Pedal Partner and Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk Hero programs that match Jimmy Fund Clinic patients with teams participating in the events. For the children, being designated a Pedal Partner or Walk Hero is an exciting experience, as they become part of a large group of people committed to helping fight cancer. Cyclists and walkers offer friendship and support to the children and their families while gaining personal inspiration to train and fundraise. 

On Sunday, Feb. 9, the Boston Celtics will host the team’s inaugural PMC Night. Ten kids that are receiving treatment at Dana-Farber, including Bennett and other PMC Pedal Partners, will greet players as they return to the court at TD Garden for the second half of the game as part of the Halftime High Five Kids Tunnel. The game will be a welcome distraction for Bennett as he prepares for surgery on Feb. 11 to stabilize the bone is his left leg. 

Fourteen BedfordPMC Kids Ride participants, children who ride in one of 37 mini bike-a-thons to raise funds for the PMC, will serve as Boston Celtics Anthem Buddies, standing with players as the national anthem is performed.  

During the special in-game presentation, PMC Founder Billy Starr will be presented with the Heroes Among Us Award. Established as an initiative of the Boston Celtics in 1997, the award identifies individuals who have made a positive impact on the lives of others within the community. 

The celebration is part of a series of events leading up to the 35th annual PMC. On Aug. 2 and 3, 5,500 cyclists will ride up to 190 miles in the two-day weekend event with the goal of raising $40 million for the Jimmy Fund.  

To purchase tickets for PMC Night at the Boston Celtics, which starts at 6 p.m., click here (works best with Chrome or Firefox). Tickets are $30 per person in the PMC section. There are no service fees and a portion of the ticket price goes directly to the PMC. Use promo code: PMC.














Bennett Olson, current Jimmy Fund Clinic patient

Post courtesy of Teak Media + Communication