NEEDHAM, Mass., Aug. 1, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) kicked off the bike-a-thon's 2015 ride weekend, as cyclists from 40 states and five countries crossed starting lines in both Sturbridge and Wellesley, Massachusetts. A total of 6,000 cyclists, joined by Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and Boston Mayor Marty Walsh, will ride across Massachusetts with the collective goal of raising $45 million to support adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute (DFCI) through the Jimmy Fund, helping to bring the PMC's 35-year fundraising total to a half billion dollars raised since the organization's inception in 1980.
During PMC weekend, cyclists from across the world, ranging from ages 13 to 82, unite to become one extended family, choosing from 12 different routes of varying mileage that run through 46 Massachusetts towns designed to cater to all levels of cycling strength and fundraising ability. Many participants ride in honor of a family member or friend lost to, or being treated for, cancer, as 100 percent of every rider raised dollar goes directly to DFCI through the Jimmy Fund. The weekend is especially meaningful to the 600 riders and volunteers whom are cancer survivors or current patients, considered "Living Proof" of the PMC mission to find a cure.
"The passion our riders have for cycling and funding cures for cancer is incredibly evident. Each year, this passion is magnified, as more riders and volunteers join the PMC family and share in the special bond that will keep them coming back year after year," said Billy Starr, founder and executive director of the PMC. "It's this bond, and unique camaraderie, that makes our achievements in support of Dana-Farber so remarkable. I wish all of our riders a safe, enjoyable and unforgettable PMC ride weekend!"
"Each year, we are astonished by the unparalleled support that Dana-Farber receives from the PMC, and this year is no different," said Edward J. Benz, Jr., MD, president and chief executive officer, Dana-Farber. "More riders mean more opportunities to invest in life-saving breakthroughs in cancer research, from genomics and immunotherapy to chemistry and patient care. We are deeply grateful for the PMC's partnership and unwavering commitment to our work as we join forces to change the face of cancer care for generations to come."
One-day routes include riding from Wellesley or Sturbridge to Bourne, Wellesley to Patriot Place and Bourne to Provincetown. Two-day routes include Wellesley or Sturbridge to Provincetown, and Wellesley or Sturbridge to Bourne and back. The average cyclist trains for three months, solicits 40 sponsors, and raises more than $6,500.
Governor Baker and Mayor Walsh will both be riding the one-day, 25 mile route from Wellesley to Patriot Place on Sunday, August 2. Both will be presenting opening remarks at Opening Ceremonies at Wellesley on Sunday morning. The Mayor, a childhood cancer survivor, and Governor Baker announced their participation at the PMC's Heavy Hitter Dinner in May, which celebrated the organization's top fundraisers in 2014.
The PMC was started in 1980 when Starr and 35 of his friends rode across Massachusetts and raised $10,200 for cancer research. It is recognized as the pioneering event that connected athleticism to charitable fundraising. Today, athletic fundraising events annually raise more than $4 billion, funding crucial programs at health and human service organizations nationwide.
The PMC is presented by the Red Sox Foundation and the New Balance Foundation. Another 200 companies support the event by providing more than $4 million in goods and services each year. During PMC weekend and throughout the year, more than 4,000 volunteers donate their time to support the organization.
No other single athletic event raises or contributes more money to charity than the PMC. The PMC is Dana-Farber's largest single contributor, raising more than 50 percent of the Jimmy Fund's annual revenue. To make a financial contribution to a rider, visit www.pmc.org, or call (800) WE-CYCLE. Connect with #PMC2015 on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn.
About the Pan-Mass Challenge
The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) is an annual bike-a-thon that today raised more money for charity than any other single athletic fundraising event in the world. The PMC was founded in 1980 by Billy Starr, who remains the event's executive director, an annual cyclist, and a fundraiser. The PMC has since raised $455 million for adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund. The event donates 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to the cause. The PMC generates more than 50 percent of the Jimmy Fund's annual revenue and is Dana-Farber's single largest contributor. 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. The PMC's hope and aspiration is to provide Dana-Farber's doctors and researchers with the necessary resources to discover cures for all cancers. For more information on the Pan-Mass Challenge, log onto www.pmc.org.
SOURCE Pan-Mass Challenge