The Pan-Mass Challenge raises money for life-saving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through an annual bike-a-thon that crosses Massachusetts. Since its founding in 1980, the PMC has successfully melded support from committed cyclists, volunteers, corporate sponsors and individual contributors. All are essential to the PMC's goal and model: to attain maximum fundraising efficiency while increasing its annual gift. Our hope and aspiration is to provide Dana-Farber's doctors and researchers with the necessary resources to discover cures for all cancers.
Established by Billy Starr in 1980 and under his direction, the PMC has grown considerably and consistently from its modest beginnings into an event that draws 6,700 cyclists from 43 states and 12 countries. Today, the Pan-Mass Challenge raises more money than any other athletic fundraising event in the country. The PMC generates more than 55 percent of the Jimmy Fund's annual revenue and it is Dana-Farber's single largest contributor. In 2019, the PMC donated a record-breaking $63 million to Dana-Farber, bringing the PMC's 40-year fundraising total to $717 million.
The now nationally recognized PMC is a tribute to Starr's unending desire to achieve, make a difference, and raise money for cancer research. It is also a model for all athletic fundraising events, setting the pace for a now $5 billion industry.
Physical adventures had always been second nature to Starr, an avid outdoorsman who honed his skills while attending college in Colorado. From rock climbing to biking to backpacking, Starr's education was equally physical and academic; he graduated from college with a thirst for physical challenges and the expectation of backpacking around the world. And then his mother, Betty Starr, just 49, died from melanoma.
It was soon after that a 25-year-old Starr set out with three friends to hike the Appalachian Trail. Since Starr was the instigator, he ended up doing all the work: He planned the group's gear, food, and travel pace. He set up supply mailings to the appropriate post offices. He carried the heaviest load, both emotionally and physically. And when nature pelted the young men with freezing rain for the first eight straight days of their trek, it was Starr who encouraged the group to keep going and to keep focused on the challenge.
From this experience, Starr says he understood that those who put in the mental energy, not just the physical, follow their goals from theory to mission accomplished. From that point forward, Starr knew he could achieve anything to which he committed his mind and body.
Why I PMC - Ellie Olsen
Mar 31, 2020 11:46:05 AM
Why I PMC: In memory of my amazing mom, Hilary Olsen.
"Mom has cancer." I never thought I would hear those words, especially not in relation to my mother. She was one of the most healthy, active, energetic people I had ever met, and the thought of her getting breast cancer was unfathomable. But apparently cancer does not discriminate, and nine years later I watched my mom slowly deteriorate, and eventually pass away, from this horrible disease. It has been one and a half years since then and not a day goes by without feeling her absence.
The mission of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute is to provide expert, compassionate care to children and adults with cancer while advancing the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of cancer and related diseases. As an affiliate of Harvard Medical School and a Comprehensive Cancer Center designated by the National Cancer Institute, Dana-Farber also provides training for new generations of physicians and scientists, designs programs that promote public health particularly among high-risk and underserved populations, and disseminates innovative patient therapies and scientific discoveries to our target community across the United States and throughout the world. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute's ultimate goal is the eradication of cancer, AIDS, and related diseases and the fear that they engender. Above all else, Dana-Farber makes a difference by relieving the burden of disease now and for the future through our research, clinical care, education, outreach and advocacy.