Seeing Jack is a very special part of PMC weekend. If it weren’t for the PMC, I probably would never have heard of Jack. I learned of Jack back in 2007 (you will find him on the initial screenshot of the video below and at 41 seconds of the video)
Jack O’Riordan was 1 year old when he was diagnosed with cancer, Wilms’ Tumor (a pediatric kidney cancer). He had a kidney removed and metastases to his lungs three months later that required him to undergo 30 months of chemotherapy and radiation at Dana-Farber before kindergarten.
After that, with his mom’s help, he would make signs to hold up at the Brewster waterstop on Sunday of the PMC. Here are some examples of what they would say:
“Thank You Riders, I made it because of you”
“I am 4 now because of you”
“I am 5 and alive”
“I Get to Be 6 because of you”
“I am 8 now because of you”
and this year,
As nearly half of the members of Team Forza-G took our picture next with Jack, he gave us blue wristbands, similar to the Livestrong bracelets, that said “Thank You PMC Riders, Jack”. Next year, I learned from Jack as we took our picture with him, it is going to be a little bit trickier to find Jack at the Brewster waterstop on Sunday of the PMC. For the first time in 13 years, it is likely that he won’t be standing there with his sign and taking pictures with all of the cyclists who are so inspired by him.
That is because next year, when he is 15 years old, Jack goes from PMC volunteer and inspiration to Pan Mass Challenge Living Proof Rider! Way to go Jack – can’t wait to see you on the road.