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Great Neck Residents Ride in 30th Annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge

On Aug. 1 and 2, two residents from Great Neck, Douglas Spector and Ossie Spector, will ride in the 30th annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC), the nation’s pioneer charity bike-a-thon that raises more money than any other athletic fundraising event in the country. They will be among the more than 5,000 cyclists who will ride with the collective goal of raising millions of dollars for lifesaving cancer research and care for adult and pediatric cancer patients at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund.

PMC riders are between 13 and 85 years of age. Many riders are seasoned cyclists or tri-athletes, while others are PMC weekend warriors, having trained for this event alone. PMC cyclists are unified in the most important ways – they are driven to raise money for cancer research and they love the PMC.

The PMC is all about heart and soul. Doctors ride alongside their patients; friends and family members ride in honor of loved ones lost to, or battling, cancer. Nearly 300 cancer survivors will ride to give back and give thanks for being given a second chance.

During PMC weekend, individual cyclists become part of one family. The camaraderie shared by 5,000 cyclists, 2,800 volunteers, and thousands of supporters is one of the reasons cyclists from 36 states and eight countries return to ride in the PMC each August.

“Even in a down economy, people are making a commitment to fundraise and ride in the PMC in order to help raise money for cancer research,” says Billy Starr, PMC founder and executive director. “Cancer doesn’t stop because of a recession and neither do PMCers.”

No other athletic event raises or contributes more money to charity than the PMC. Since 1980, the PMC has raised more than $240 million for cancer research and care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through its Jimmy Fund. Last year, the PMC gave 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to the Jimmy Fund, a rate of fundraising that is nearly unequaled within the more than $2 billion athletic fundraising event industry. The PMC generates more than 50 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue and is Dana-Farber’s largest single contributor. PMC funding is considered “seed money;” it allows researchers and doctors to finance innovative experiments and conduct initial trials to qualify for federal funding.

The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge is a fully supported bike-a-thon — with food and water stops, mechanical and medical assistance, luggage transportation, and lodging — that runs through 46 cities and towns across Massachusetts. Cyclists choose from seven routes of varying mileage designed to cater to all levels of cycling strength and time availability. Two-day rides include the original 190-mile Sturbridge to Provincetown route; 180-mile Sturbridge-Bourne-Wellesley route; 163-mile Wellesley-Bourne-Provincetown route; or the 153-mile Wellesley-Bourne-Wellesley route. One-day riders cycle the 110-mile Sturbridge-Bourne route, the 84-mile Wellesley-Bourne route, and the 47-mile Wellesley-Wellesley Sunday loop. Cyclists are required to raise between $1,000 and $4,200 to ride in the PMC, depending on the chosen route, yet the average PMC cyclist raises more than $6,000. This commitment to the fundraising portion of the PMC journey is a testament to riders’ dedication to the cause and their belief in the PMC mission.

The PMC is sponsored by the Red Sox Foundation and Overstock.com. To become a virtual rider, or make a financial contribution to a rider from your town, visit www.pmc.org, or call (800) WE-CYCLE. Checks can be made payable to PMC, 77 Fourth Avenue, Needham, Mass. 02494.