Why I PMC - Denise Singleton
Why I PMC - Denise Singleton
On Sunday, March 1, The Boston Celtics paid tribute to the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) for its incredible fundraising efforts on behalf of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Jimmy Fund. PMC Night at the Celtics was attended by more than 150 PMC'ers. PMC Kids Rides riders and volunteers served as Boston Celtics anthem buddies, standing with players as the national anthem was performed and greeting players as they returned to the court at TD Garden for the second half of the game as part of the Halftime High Five Kids Tunnel.
During the special in-game presentation, Denise Singleton, an eleven-year PMC volunteer, seven-year PMC Kids Rides coordinator and first-year PMC rider, was presented with the Heroes Among Us Award, which identifies individuals who have made a positive impact on the lives of others within the community. Denise has made a significant impact with the PMC Kids Rides, raising over $380,000 through the Westwood, MA ride that she coordinates year after year.
I sat down with Denise to talk to her about her many roles in the PMC and what her involvement means to her and her family.
Meredith Beaton Starr (MBS): How did you first get involved in PMC?
Denise Singleton (DS): I became a volunteer at the Brewster Water Stop the year my brother and his wife did their 1st ride in 2004. My sister-in-law had gone through aggressive treatment for advanced stage breast cancer while in her 30's and had 3 young children (the same age as my kids). After several years of Volunteering in Brewster & Bourne, I thought I would try riding but was afraid I couldn't do it due to arthritis in my hip. I came across the Kids Ride page on the website and decided to start a kids ride in my hometown of Westwood instead. My husband and sister had recently been diagnosed with cancer and a classmate of my son's was just starting a 2 year treatment plan for lymphoma. I thought hosting a Kids Ride would give his friends & family a way to show their support and might help him as well.
MBS: What is the most meaningful part of your PMC experience?
DS: The most meaningful part of doing this is being able to help the families who are coping with cancer. Sadly we have had 8 kids in town that have battled cancer since I started the ride and many more who have lost parents (4 last year). We have supported the kids in treatment by making them Pedal Partners and I have reached out to the children of parents who are in treatment. I get them involved in the hope that it will empower them and make them proud to be able to take an active role in fighting this disease that has devastated their family. I am also proud to have introduced hundreds of people to the PMC and their mission. Before the Kids Ride came to Westwood, most families hadn't heard of the PMC. Knowing more about this organization will make them more likely to donate to a rider and possibly become a rider themselves. The PMC is big part of my family and will continue to be until we can all celebrate an end to this disease as we know it.
MBS: After so many years of volunteering, what made you decide to ride this year?
DS: I have wanted to ride since 2004 when I volunteered for the 1st time, but always found an excuse not to. What finally pushed me to do it was when a neighbor fell and broke her wrist on a training ride - I wanted to do it for her and for all those battling cancer. It was early June - the day of my 7th annual Kids Ride when I learned of her accident. I don't know why but I just decided in that moment that I would ride - no more excuses. I had a total hip replacement 5 years ago. I registered immediately and never doubted myself. The PMC motto, "Commit - you'll figure it out", became mine as well. On every training ride I gained strength and momentum as I thought of everyone I knew that has battled cancer. When my cousin lost his battle with pancreatic cancer several weeks later I knew that any pain I was feeling was minimal compared to the suffering he endured. In addition, my husband and sister b oth have chronic forms of cancer that currently have not cure. For them and others who live hoping for a cure, I will continue raising money and awareness for the PMC and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute any way I can.
MBS: How did it feel to be recognized as a Hero Among Us by the Celtics?
DS: It was amazing. I was so proud to be recognized by the PMC and the Celtics organization as the Heroes Among Us. I was very nervous going out on the infamous "parquet floor" but loved it and hope that my story will inspire others to get involved in a charitable cause in their community.
We can't think of a better PMC ambassador than Denise Singleton and we congratulate her on this well-deserved award!