Why I PMC - Steve Galante

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Bill Alfano

Why I PMC - Steve Galante

Guest post by Steve Galante

My name is Steve Galante and this year I will ride in my 9thPMC.   I wait all year long for PMC Weekend as it is truly my favorite days of the year!  As always, I ride for my mother, Corinne Galante.  I ride my bike almost every day or nearly 9,000 miles a year; so you can say I am very passionate about riding a bike however the PMC, for me, is not just another bike ride.  At first the PMC was to honor Mom and contribute to her cause.  After Mom’s passing in 2011, my PMC involvement deepened and it gave me a voice where I had been otherwise helpless.  I always think back to a quote by Billy Starr, founder of the PMC, "So many people began their PMC journey in an effort to process their own loss and to transform it into something positive".

The PMC has given me purpose in fighting each year to support those impacted by cancer.  The PMC has helped me heal in the wake of my Mother’s passing.  The PMC has helped me become the father, husband, friend, employee and person that I want to be.  

The PMC experience is something that keeps me grounded and pushing forward in this fight.  I've learned so much along this journey over the last decade, so much about myself and so much about the generosity and kindness of the family and friends that I have around me.  Without them by my side, none of what we have been able to accomplish would be possible. 

In all, I love this event and everything that it stands for.

I would like to share a story from Day 2 of the 2011 PMC… I awoke early Sunday morning in Bourne to an absolute downpour.  The rain did not let up at all and followed me all the way back to Wellesley.  I feared that, given the weather, Mom would not be able to make it to the finish.  At this point, she had been battling metastatic breast cancer courageously for 3 years.  (13 years since her first bout with cancer and subsequent 10 years living cancer-free).  This should come as no surprise… but as I rode into the finishing area, sure enough, there was Mom cheering me on holding an umbrella to keep dry.  Mom would never disappoint anyone she cared about, especially not me her only child.  Elated, I quickly stopped short and jumped off of my bike to give her a hug.  As I was about to climb back on my bike, I stopped and asked Mom if she would finish the ride with me.  As you can see from the picture, rain and all, it was a momentous moment and one I will never forget.  Together, we slowly walked the last hundred feet of my 165 mile journey and, symbolically, hers which had lasted much longer than that.   

Sadly, a short time after the PMC, Mom’s condition declined rapidly.  The steps she took with me to finish the PMC would end up being some of the last she ever took.  She was soon placed in hospice care and things changed quickly. The home she cherished and took such care to decorate was now filled with medical equipment.  Dad and I became her caregivers as she was confined to a hospital bed in our living room.  I was able to spend a lot of time with Mom in her last weeks and took such enjoyment in being at home with her, watching her beloved soaps together or getting her a glass of Orange Crush.  I am grateful to have had this opportunity. 

On the evening of September 15th,  2011, while holding Mom’s hand, I watched as she closed her eyes for the last time and passed on to a place where there are no more doctor visits, no chemo or radiation, no scans and certainly no suffering.   

I truly believe in the work of the many special people at Dana Farber, like Dr. Craig Bunnell.  I truly believe in the PMC.  I can feel confident asking my sponsors for their hard-earned money because I know that 100% that is donated goes directly where it is needed most.  Because of the PMC, I am 110% convinced that Mom was able to live her life to the fullest for years longer than once thought possible.  And for that, I say THANK YOU! 

I enjoy nothing more than the PMC Sunday ride back to Babson.  The pageantry and togetherness on the road of PMC Saturday is replaced by quiet solitude and reflection on the route back on Sunday.  It's a lesser travelled route and I choose to ride solo.  It's me on the bike and Mom in my thoughts the whole way.  It seems every year at some point, I look up to the sky and the sun always seems to be shining brightly down on me in a special way.  It is then I know that I am not alone and there are not just 2 feet pushing my bike faster and faster towards the finish line.  Every single ride this happens and it puts tears in my eyes and goose bumps on my skin. It is our moment right then and there.  For moments like these, it’s Why I PMC!