Every summer at the beginning of August, several of our store employees in Provincetown get a chance to witness charity in action.
That is when thousands of bicyclists make the two-day trek from Sturbridge to Provincetown. There are other routes and one-day bikes, but the primary destination has been Provincetown since founder Billy Starr established the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge in 1980.
The event is the largest charitable athletic fundraising event in the country, contributing more than $455 million for adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. This year, the challenge has raised $28.5 million with a goal of raising $45 million by October. If that happens, the ride and its participants will have raised a half-billion dollars towards cancer care and research.
Nearly everyone reading this has been impacted or knows somebody who has been impacted by cancer. It is a horrific disease, one that does not discriminate, regardless of one’s age, gender, ethnicity or religious beliefs.
But for all that cancer does to the body, it does not take away our ability to fight, to live and to love.
At no time is that more apparent than during the Pan-Mass Challenge. It is awe-inspiring to see bicyclist after bicyclist end their journey in Provincetown. They endure the aches and pains of their 75- to 100-mile bike ride because they know it pales in comparison to what those suffering from cancer are forced to endure. And they do it because it provides hope that one day – in 10, 15 or 20 years – there will be a cure for a disease that will no longer take the lives of those they love.
So this week we wanted to salute those who find ways to actively give back – whether running, bicycling, swimming, hiking or dumping a bucket of ice over your head – to help find cures for diseases that impact our friends, family members and coworkers. You are showing that we’re all part of a larger community greater than ourselves.
To learn more about the Pan-Mass Challenge and how you can help to actively fight cancer, click this link.