Monday, August 9, 2010

Pan Mass Challange

I had an experience over the weekend that amplified my confidence in the humanity of man to help others. I observed the Pan Mass Challenge. It is a bike-riding endeavor of 192-milles from Sturbridge, MA to Provincetown, MA, on the tip of the Cape Cod Peninsula.

The reason thousands and thousands of bike riders accept this challenging trek is to raise money for cancer research and subliminally to bring awareness to so many who have never experienced a personal family or friend's cancer illness.

I waited at the finish line for my son and his wife to arrive not only to my expanded pride and appreciation of their accomplishment, but to the cheers, applause and accolades of hundreds of others who were there to welcome the arrival of all who chose the endurance of this mileage.

My son, Gregg and his wife Julie rode for Gregg’s brother and my son Lee who passed eleven years ago from brain cancer and they rode for Gregg’s mother, my wife Ann, who is a cancer survivor; for that reason alone it is an emotional experience.

There is so much more to the Pan Mass Challenge than the thousands of poignant personal stories. Each rider has one.

There is the visual empathy of the man who finished the challenge with one leg. He peddled the entire 192-miles, up-hills and more, with one leg. The stub of his right leg figuratively watching the empty peddle below go around and around.

There is the surprise of watching sixty year olds, seventy year olds and even octogenarians cross the finish line and be welcomed by colleagues, compatriots and graying companions.

I have seen and covered many fund raising events in my experience as a news reporter. I have never seen anything as emotional as this or as altruistic. Each rider must raise 42-hundred dollars for cancer research just to compete. Every single dollar goes to research. There are no administrative or promotional costs to this non-profit organization.

Bravo Pan Mass Challenge and thank you to all who rode.

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