92 Letters, 91 Donations - How one PMC Heavy Hitter Raises Money for the Cause and Why

Bill Alfano's picture
Bill Alfano

92 Letters, 91 Donations - How one PMC Heavy Hitter Raises Money for the Cause and Why

At the age of 78, Winslow Green, of Bolton, Mass., is one of the oldest and most dedicated participants in the Pan-Mass Challenge. As a retired surgeon and cycling enthusiast, Green has ridden in the annual bike-a-thon eight times and consistently achieves PMC Heavy Hitter fundraising status. A Heavy Hitter is a rider who raises $6,900 or more.  For Green, there is nothing like riding a bicycle. 

“To me, biking is the embodiment of life, freedom and good health, while cancer is just the opposite,” says Green. 

Green’s motivation to ride in and raise money for the PMC is twofold. First, training for the PMC provides him with an excuse to pedal across New England, allowing for adventures with new and old friends and an opportunity to stay happy and healthy. Second, he has lost many friends and family members to cancer, including his late wife, Debby, who succumbed to lung cancer in January 2008, just nine weeks after receiving her diagnosis. She was 67-years-old.  

Not only does Green conquer the PMC every August, but during the weeks leading up to the two-day weekend event he rides up to 100 miles a week, and covers between 2,000 and 3,000 miles a year. Green has been cycling since he was six years old and often rode his bike to school during grammar and high school.  During his professional life he often rode his bicycle to work. When he retired, he joined several bike clubs as a source of physical challenge and social opportunity. He also rides recreationally around town and goes on a week-long bike tour in Vermont with several friends each year.   

Over the past eight years, Green has solicited donations for his PMC fundraising campaign from a growing list of friends, neighbors, old classmates, professional associates and people with whom he does business. His strategy is to send them personalized and hand addressed letters during the winter months to explain the PMC mission and message. He feels that rather than asking for something, he is giving his prospective donors the opportunity to support a very worthy cause.  He hosts and pays for an annual post bike ride luncheon, inviting his cycling friends to become his sponsors and make a contribution toward his PMC fundraising campaign. Following PMC weekend, he mails a second letter to recap the weekend and thank donors for their support. This year, Green mailed 92 letters. He received a donation from every potential donor, but one.  

As a student at Harvard Medical School, Green remembers Dr. Sidney Farber, founder of the Children’s Cancer Research Foundation which is now known as Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, as a very knowledgeable and impressive man who was a source of inspiration to many aspiring physicians. Although Green’s late wife was not treated at Dana-Farber, he knows the importance of the money raised by PMCers to help fund new research, clinical trials and treatments. To date, he has raised more than $119,000.  

“I have never set a fundraising goal in all the years that I have ridden in the PMC,” says Green. “I just send out my letters and hope for the best. I make sure to explain how PMC money helps current and future cancer patients. I love being a PMC Heavy Hitter and proudly display my HH top 10 percent decal on the window of my car and house. Riding and raising money for the PMC can make all of the difference for cancer patients and their families.”  

To learn more about the Pan-Mass Challenge, or to support Green or another PMC cyclist looking to become a PMC Heavy Hitter, visit www.pmc.org. Donations to help the PMC reach its $40 million goal, which will bring the PMC’s 35-year gift to the Jimmy Fund to $454 million, will be accepted through Oct. 1.


Many participants have personal stories about why they ride and raise money. Winslow Green, a long-time PMC Heavy Hitter, rides in honor of several friends and family members who have been afflicted   with cancer, including his late wife, Debby. This year he rode with the picture of his PMC Pedal Partner who is recovering from complications of cancer treatment.  

Post courtesy of Allison from Teak Media + Communication