On August 1 and 2, Dr. David Reardon, MD, physician and Clinical Director of the Center for Neuro-Oncology at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, will be doing what he does every other day: conquering cancer. On this particular weekend, though, he won’t be in the lab searching for ways to improve outcomes for brain tumor patients, or developing an action plan for a patient’s treatment. Instead, he’ll be pedaling 162 miles across Massachusetts as part of the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) bike-a-thon.
Founded in 1980, the PMC is the largest athletic fundraising event in the nation. It has successfully garnered support from cyclists, volunteers, corporate sponsors, and individual contributors to raise $455 million for Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund, with 100% of every rider-raised dollar directly supporting the mission.
New to the PMC, but not to cycling, Dr. Reardon commuted a few miles each day by bike during his first two years at Dana-Farber. The commute was helpful to his training, but the 162 mile journey for which he is preparing will be a new challenge for Dr. Reardon.
So how does someone with only a few miles under his belt embark on a journey of this magnitude? He asks for help! Dr. Reardon plans to reach out to PMC alumni for training and fundraising advice. Though a little weary of the unpredictable New England weather (the 2014 ride was met with unseasonably cold temperatures and daunting rain), Dr. Reardon is focused on, and motivated by, the opportunity to make a difference.
Dr. Reardon will be joined by 6,000 other committed riders, including his wife Beth. For Dr. Reardon, conquering cancer is a family effort— both in the clinic and on the road. Each day, patients tackle new challenges nourished by the support of their loved ones. Together, they will lean on that power to fuel them through the long stretches and push them up the hills. When asked what it will be like to spend two days on a bike next to his wife, he joked, “[It] should be a lot of fun, but I am also worried—she is in great shape and will likely kick my butt!”
Participating in the PMC is a statement that we will not let cancer win. Cancer impacts everyone and everyone is able to help—whether pedaling, giving generously, or spreading the word to families and friends. Dr. Reardon rides for his patients, colleagues, and for his family, so that his children and grandchildren won’t ever experience cancer. Are you riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge this year? Tell us why you ride in the comment section below.
Senior Associate Director, The Jimmy Fund