Father-Daughter Duo Volunteer Side by Side for the PMC

Bill Alfano's picture
Bill Alfano

Father-Daughter Duo Volunteer Side by Side for the PMC

In 1994 and 1995, Shayna Silva, now 29, of Pelham, N.H., watched her father, David, now 58, cross the finish line for the Pan-Mass Challenge. She was in awe of the sea of riders and their commitment to raise money to help fight cancer and was empowered by the energy she felt from spectators and volunteers from the sidelines. David then retired from the event as a cyclist to become a PMC volunteer. 

At the age of 14, Shayna decided to join her father, assisting PMC cyclists with their luggage at Mass Maritime Academy in Buzzards Bay, the official halfway point for riders pedaling one of the two-day PMC routes. She assisted with hauling and sorting luggage to the cyclists’ rooms on the ship and into the dormitories, and cheering riders on as they crossed the finish line. After that she was hooked, and volunteering during PMC weekend is now an annual tradition for the father-daughter duo. 

“The cyclists are always so appreciative that their luggage is right there waiting for them after a long day of riding,” says Shayna. “I say thank you for riding, and they say thank you for volunteering. I love that familiar feeling of community and togetherness I get every year, and I love being able to share that with my dad.”

Although Shayna had been helping people affected by cancer for years, it wasn’t until 2003 when the Silvas experienced the grave effects cancer can have on one’s family firsthand. Shayna’s uncle Richard succumbed to lung cancer the day after Christmas. Then, in 2011, Shayna’s other uncle and David’s brother, Joe, was diagnosed with lung cancer. He endured two years of treatments before ultimately losing his life to the disease in 2013. He was 60 years old. After experiencing the devastating loss of a second uncle to cancer, Shayna knew she had to do more to further the PMC’s mission, to raise money to support adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund

In 2013, as a tribute to her uncle Joe, Shayna and her father started the Pelham PMC Kids Ride, one of 37 mini bike-a-thons that involve children in the PMC mission throughout New England and beyond. On Sept. 6, the Silvas will host the second annual Pelham PMC Kids Ride. 

Shayna’s niece, Kayla, 12, and nephew, Landen, 8, will be among the 50 children, ages 3 to 14, who are expected to participate in the event, riding continuous loops around Pelham Elementary School in Pelham. The Pelham PMC Kids Ride will hold a party after the ride, which will include face painting, bike decorating, a raffle, and snacks. The event goal is to raise $15,000. 

“I wanted to do more than participate in just the PMC weekend,” says Shayna. “The Pelham PMC Kids Ride is a way for my dad and I to bring our commitment to the PMC to our own community, and introduce kids to charitable giving at a young age, including my niece and nephew. It’s been a great way to bring my whole family together.”

On Aug. 2, Shayna and David will return as volunteers, assisting more than 5,700 cyclists from the sidelines who will ride up to 190 miles to raise $40 million. 

To register to volunteer for the 35th Pan-Mass Challenge, which is set for Aug. 2 and 3, visit here.  

From left to right: Father-daughter duo David and Shayna Silva volunteering at the Mass Maritime Academy during PMC 2012.

Post courtesy of Allison at Teak Media + Communication