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.
For more than 40 years, the Pan-Mass Challenge has been raising funds to pursue the cures for cancer at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. While we have been singularly focused on eradicating cancer, we recognize that the PMC has a role to play in changing systemic racism. We deplore racism and will re-examine the PMC, aiming to combat it. This challenge will engage every facet of the PMC community in order to emerge as an even better organization and a part of the solution to this national crisis. We will keep all PMCers apprised of our ideas and our progress.
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 - Jennifer Covell
Jul 1, 2020 4:09:22 PM
Barring COVID-19 preventing the PMC from taking place this year (blog was submitted in April), 2020 will be my fifth consecutive PMC ride and my first as a Heavy Hitter. Why was I able to achieve heavy hitter status for my 2019 ride? Because of a childhood friend named Nicole Cingiser. I met Nikki back in 1976, when she and her family first came to Camp Wah-nee, a sleep-away camp in the Berkshires, that I had been attending since 1973. Nikki’s older sister, Karen, became one of my best friends back then and remains so to this day. Nikki was passionate about the causes she supported, including volunteering for several years at the Hole in the Wall Gang, a camp founded by Paul Newman for children with serious illnesses, and marching for women and the rights of families. She was also devoted to the students she taught and staff she worked alongside at the Children's School in Stamford, CT. Up until her death, she had been a generous supporter of my PMC ride. Unfortunately, Nikki lost her battle with breast cancer in November 2018. Every time I am fortunate to have the opportunity to experience musical theater, a passion that we both shared, but which she pursued at maximum velocity, I think of my friend, Nikki, as well as during my training for my 2020 PMC ride.Read Blog Post
Why I PMC - Susan Sudbay
Jun 24, 2020 5:18:56 PM
This year will be my 13th PMC in a row. When I first signed up back in 2008, I didn't even own a bike, let alone have any experience riding 192 miles. I used to be one of those onlookers who would stand at the top of Ocean View Drive in Wellfleet with a cup of coffee early on warm August Sunday mornings and cheer the riders on, but I never thought I could do it.Read Blog Post
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.