The Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC), which began in 1980 with Billy Starr and three dozen riders who wanted to raise money for cancer care and research, this year crossed the $750 million mark in cumulative fundraising for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This notable milestone occurred during the 2020 PMC, a ride that was “reimagined” to account for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. More than 9,600 participated in the summer-long 2020 PMC Reimagined campaign, raising an impressive $50 million by charting their own courses and riding alone or in small groups in cities and towns across New England and beyond.
“Nothing could be more satisfying than to look back over the past 41 years and see the impact that the efforts of our incredibly dedicated riders, volunteers, sponsors, donors, and supporters have had on lifesaving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber,” commented Starr, PMC founder and executive director, and a Dana-Farber Trustee.
At the cornerstone of the PMC community are the more than 940 Living Proof riders and volunteers who have faced their own cancer journeys. Each year, the Living Proof community comes together during PMC Ride Weekend for a moving toast to celebrate life and the progress made in the fight against cancer. This summer, that celebration looked a bit different, taking place via a video call that joined more than 200 PMC Living Proof participants. Nine-year Living Proof rider and Dana-Farber patient Theresa Welsh led the toast alongside Starr, sharing her personal cancer experience and the impact the PMC has made in her fight, noting, “I credit, hands down, all of the efforts everyone on this call and across the Pan-Mass community and our supporters for my being here today because of the advancements in cancer research that have been made possible by the Pan-Mass Challenge.”
“The PMC community’s steadfast commitment to our institution is humbling and inspiring. More than ever, PMC dollars are critical to support the world-class cancer care and additional resources we provide our patients and their families,” said Laurie H. Glimcher, MD, Dana-Farber president and CEO and the Richard and Susan Smith Professor of Medicine. “We are so very grateful for the continued support from the PMC and the creative ways its riders reimagined their experience this year to raise money for Dana-Farber.”
PMC 2020 Reimagined, which digitally brought to life many of the most beloved activities from a usual PMC Ride Weekend, was conceptualized after it became clear that the event planned for early August would not be able to go on as it had in the past, with fundraisers pedaling across Eastern Massachusetts to Provincetown in one group.
“As much as we would have loved to be out on the roads together that weekend, I’m very proud of how our community reimagined this year’s PMC experience,” added Starr. “Our motto of ‘there’s a lot riding on us’ rings truer than ever this year as the need for cancer research and treatment funding becomes more and more critical in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The PMC donates 100% of every rider-raised dollar to Dana-Farber as its largest single contributor, accounting for 64% of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue. Despite having to reimagine its 2020 ride, the PMC has remained unwavering in its dedication to Dana-Farber. PMC 2020 Reimagined was incredibly successful, generating the highest event weekend fundraising results the PMC has ever experienced – $4 million from July 31 to August 3. Additionally, as part of the PMC’s impressive $50 million gift, the PMC released $4 million in May as seed funding for Dana-Farber’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, providing immediate support for cancer patients and their families.