Because….

The big check announcement was last Friday night. I am so proud to be one of the 5,000 cyclists involved in the work to create a $33 million check to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The 2010 PMC donation to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute

I want to say thank you to all my supporters for doing your part to make this happen. In 4 years, 175 people have donated to my ride a total of  $26,179. I am in awe of the continued encouragement and support I receive from all of you. And it is because of you that I am, right now, committed to riding my 5th PMC in 2011 to celebrate my 15th year of life after my cancer treatment!

I am now more committed to this cause than ever.

 

  • Because of the encouragement and support that you have given me.
  • Because of the notes and phone calls I receive from friends who just want to talk about their family’s battle against cancer.
  • Because of the knowledge that a world where cancer is treatable, manageable, and curable is obtainable, if not in my lifetime, then in my daughter’s.
  • Because one of you receives an email from Senator John Kerry every year about the PMC and to get a donation and you write him back to tell him that you are on board, but that you will supporting me instead of him.
  • Because of the hundreds of signs, put up along the PMC route by people I don’t know and will never meet, thanking the riders for riding a bike, saying that their mom or dad or son or daughter now have a chance to beat the cancer that they are fighting.
  • Because of the families in my life that are battling this disease right now.

Four words: A cure for cancer.

That is the ultimate goal. The PMC is one part of the grand mission to make that happen. My annual ride is just one small piece of that mission. Your continued emotional and financial support in all of this is INVALUABLE.

I will kick off my fundraising next February 23rd, the 15th anniversary of my cancer diagnosis. My fundraising goal for 2011 will be $7,500.  I know that I can count on you for your support!

Big Day for Fundraising & More Pics of 2010 Ride

After much waiting and consternation (I know, big word to start a blog post with and hope that people will keep reading), I have finally sent off my last chunk of fundraising checks to a generous person who has agreed to match! Right now, this year’s PMC fundraising total is

$4,858

Thanks to the generosity of so many people, and this amazing match, the total will be at least:

$6,858

WOW! I am so grateful… if you have not donated this year and would still like to, it would be great to get that number over $7,000. You can still donate at http://www.pmc.org/as0171.

OKAY – enough with the fundraising, lets get to some fun pictures of my 2010 Pan-Mass Challenge weekend, courtesy of my sister-in-law. These pics were all taken at the Wareham waterstop, which is the 4th stop of day 1 of the PMC. It also happens to be at the 100-mile mark. Last year, the tradition of our team meeting up to enjoy some fresh pie started. Oh, how we all look forward to this stop! Thanks to Kathi Nelson for making it so special!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Thanks to all of you have supported me again this year.

What The PMC Opening Ceremonies is All About

Every year, I try and get my supporters to watch the PMC Opening Ceremonies show on NECN. This year’s 30 minute live show from Sturbridge, with yours truly in attendance, was excellent. The highlight was the interview with 7-time PMCer, cancer survivor Senator John Kerry and some guy named Scott.

In the 30 minutes prior to going live with the show on NECN, there is a little pre-game show to get the PMCers revved up. PMC Founder Billy Starr leads the proceedings, throwing out lots of big numbers. There are many moving speeches, and many accolades are given. For the first time ever, I have found a video of this pre-Opening Ceremony show that I want to share with you. The best part of this 35 minute clip starts at 15:20. I just watched cancer survivor Carrie Copescella speech again, and I cried again.

Around minute 14, there is a call for all Living Proof riders to stand. You don’t see me on this video, but you better believe I was standing tall and proud. Fourteen years and counting!

I hope you enjoy this video – it shows the true PMC spirit.

Thanks to David Hellman for posting this video on Vimeo.

Have you seen Jack?

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,

Team Forza-G with Jack in Brewster

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.

>> read more about Jack and see pics of his signs

What a great weekend!

So it has taken me some time to get my thoughts together and to be able to sit down and write about the 2010 Pan Mass Challenge ride.

First, let me say thank you to all the PMC Volunteers. Over 3,000 people donated their time to make the weekend happen. Again, their remarkable spirit and generosity was contagious.

I have a number of favorite moments to share from the weekend.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY

Allie Schier, PMC rookie and birthday girl

The first one that pops to mind is about Team Forza-G’s first-ever tandem team, Jaime and Allie Schier. Jaime, I have mentioned many times, is my colleague at Harpoon Brewery, my PMC mentor, and one of the most outstanding people I have ever had the pleasure to know. Allie is now Jaime’s 15-year old daughter. I have know Allie, remarkably since she was 10.

On Friday, August 5th, she turned 15, and now old enough to ride her 1st PMC. She and her dad rode their tandem on Saturday to Bourne. It was great to see both of them at the water stops (and THE PIE STOP, more later). Not to be outdone, Mary Schier, Jaime’s wife, was again our team MVP, playing a major role in the Day 0 ride for the guys from the NY State border to Sturbridge, providing many teammates rides on Friday evening and early Saturday morning, and as always, volunteering on Sunday morning in Barnstable.

A NEW ADDITION TO THE TEAM

My PMC team, Forza-G, rode in honor of Pedal Partner Mason Giove (aka Mason “G”) and his family for the second straight year. Mason is being treated for cancer at the Jimmy Fund clinic at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. On Friday evening, during the NECN opening ceremony, one of the guys on the team received a text from Mason’s dad, announcing the arrival of a new member of the Giove family, a baby girl. We were very surprised to see Mason and his dad at our lunch stop on Saturday. Congrats to the Giove family on their new addition.

some of Team Forza-G at our Saturday lunch stop with Pedal Partner and new big brother Mason "G" (front row, right)
Me and Diane
With Diane on 2009 PMC Night at Fenway

OLD FRIENDS TOGETHER AGAIN

One of the great things about the PMC is the friends that you make. My Best PMC Friend is Diane, a 4-year breast cancer survivor, who met over dinner in Sturbridge on the Friday night prior to the 2007 PMC (our first PMC). Each year at the PMC, we just happen to cross paths, sometimes in Sturbridge during check-in, other times on the road, and most excitingly, getting ready to ride our bikes onto the field at PMC Night at Fenway in 2009. Diane is one of the many great and inspiring spirits that I have been fortunate enough to meet in my years involved in the PMC.

With Diane in Bourne (2010 PMC)

Well, of course, as the 2010 PMC started, I had a sense that I would run into Diane. About 20 minutes after I checked in, I ran into Diane and a pal of hers. We made quick plans to meet up in Bourne on Saturday to get a picture. I thought I might run into her on Saturday morning, as I parked my bike on the racks right next to hers. But I guess I arrived a little early (about 4:30 AM for the 5:30 AM start) and did not see her as I grabbed my bike. Maybe, I would see her on the road. Nope. Bourne – sure thing! And then again on the ferry on Sunday back to Boston.

A REMINDER OF WHY I DO THIS

It would not be a Pan Mass Challenge for me without a lot of tears. I saw and chatted with a Living Proof Dad and Living Proof Daughter. I also heard many stories about family members and friends who have battled cancer. I have heard from my friends and family about new cancer battlers, including 3 people who have donated to my ride in the past. And then, two days after my ride, I received a note from another friend of Michele and mine to tell me that her mom has been diagnosed with lymphoma and has started to go through all the tests that need to be done to figure out what the cancer is, and where it is. She’s had a bone marrow biopsy, 3 blood cultures, 2 CT scans, a spleen biopsy, PET scan and more blood drawn than she thought possible. They are starting to learn what type of lymphoma it is and treatment will start soon. My thoughts and prayers are with their family, and my conviction to continue fundraising for the PMC and the Dana Farber Cancer Institute is more resolute than ever before.

SUNDAY WAS SPECIAL

As I mentioned in my blog post during PMC weekend, Sunday was a special day for me. I had the great thrill and honor of riding wearing the new Team Forza-G pink jersey. Originally, the idea came up for our team to create a pink jersey in support of the sister of Magnus Backstedt, aka “Big Swede”. Magnus, a melanoma survivor himself, returned for a 2nd PMC and has been an active member of our team in creating new fundraising opportunities. A retired professional cyclist, Magnus now operates his own cycling team , Team Sprocket ProCycling, his own bike shop, Big Maggy’s, and has his own coffee brand, Magnus Maximus.

So the idea for the new jersey originated around Magnus’ sister. But for me, wearing a pink jersey was a way for me to honor the memory of my aunt and grandmother and share the inspiration that my mom has been to me. It was a fine day on the road, riding with my teammates, all wearing the same pink jersey. It was a very moving day.

Of course, at the end of the ride, it was great to get together with the Harpoon riders. Well, Joe, is a former Harpooner. Jaime is a long-time Harpoon employee. And riding his 2nd PMC, and 1st two-day PMC, was Harpoon co-founder Dan Kenary. As always the best thing to do after riding 2 days and 190 miles is to enjoy a Harpoon beer.

Time for a Harpoon (from left, Jaime, Dan, Andy, Joe)

Now the plug – you still have time to donate to the 2010 Pan Mass Challenge. This year’s goal is $31 million. You can help fight cancer NOW. If you have already donated, thank you! I know that the people who are undergoing treatment right now are grateful to you. If you have not donated, here is your link – 100% of all the funds that PMC riders generate go directly to research and treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

And now – 2010 Living Proof. Why is this picture important? All of these PMC riders and volunteers are cancer survivors. Our job now is to see to it that more battlers become survivors.

2010 PMC Living Proof (courtesy of MetroDesign)

Thanks for reading.

Sunday Morning at 2010 PMC

Sunday morning in Bourne for the PMC is interesting. Riders all have there own agendas – packing up tents, getting breakfast, rolling out to Wellesley or Provincetown. There is a lot of sore spots and aches and pains. But a beautiful ride awaits, with thousands of people lining the roads cheering us on. It is different that Saturday in Sturbridge. On Saturday, all the riders are wearing the same PMC jersey. We are all headed in the same direction. There are so many people, even at 5:30 AM, along the side of the road waving, cheering, holding signs.

I think that on Saturday, we are all aligned for the PMC cause. Not that we are not on Sunday – but I think Sunday represents a little more of the individual nature of why each rider and volunteer participates in the PMC. One of the most obvious ways that is represented is in the cycling jerseys. Riders can wear any jersey they want. Many represent their corporate sponsors or wear a favorite PMC jersey from another year. Riders on teams, like Team Forza-G, have their own team jersey that they wear. This year, our team created a new team jersey for Sunday, to honor all of the women in our lives who have had breast cancer.

Forza-G for Breast Cancer Research
Sunday's ride is in memory of my grandmother and aunt and in honor of my mom!

I ride the PMC and do the fundraising and all the training for a number of reasons. One of the most important to me is to remember my aunt Norma, who passed weeks prior to my first PMC, and my beloved grandmother, along with honoring my inspiring mom, all of who have had personal battles with breast cancer. I am so excited to wear this jersey today. There will be lots of tears (and some smiles too) along the road today for me. I hope that this ride, our efforts over the years, make it so that I don’t have to watch my wife and our daughter go through the same tough battles in the future that the Trefethen women have had with breast cancer in the past. This is why I ride today.

to my Mom – I love you! Thanks for being so strong and being my inspiration.

Andy

Saturday Evening Wardrobe

Little did I know today that I would open up Facebook and find out what I would be wearing on Saturday at 6 PM. All of the PMC riders who are cancer survivors (usually around 300 or so) get together for a “Living Proof” photo on Saturday evening. We all get our t-shirts and try to fit into the picture. The good news is that each year, more and more riders are survivors. I think that is a sure sign of progress towards our ultimate goal.

Here is this year’s shirt:  (you can follow the Pan Mass Challenge on Facebook)

2010 PMC Living Proof t-shirt

Also, here are the Living Proof photos from the past 3 years, I am in each one of them (somewhere!)

2007 PMC Living Proof Photo
2008 PMC Living Proof Photo
2009 PMC Living Proof Photo