By Julie Huss
---- — Local cyclists will once again make a big showing at this year’s Pan-Massachusetts Challenge bike ride.
The benefit ride, now in its 34th year, is set for Aug. 3 and 4. It is the nation’s first and largest charity bike-a-thon, raising more money than any other athletic fundraising event in the nation.
More than 5,000 cyclists, including many from the Greater Derry/Londonderry area, will take to the streets with a collective goal of raising $38 million. It’s all to support adult and pediatric cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.
Pan-Mass riders range in age from 13 to 88. Some may train for months to prepare for the ride. Some are cancer survivors or current patients.
The ride runs through 46 towns across Massachusetts. Cyclists can choose from 11 different routes of varying mileage and difficulty.
This year’s participants once again include four members of the Galluzzo family of Londonderry.
Brothers Anthony, 26, Dominic 18, Matt, 24, and Michael Galluzzo will take part in the Challenge to honor family members who have battled cancer.
Londonderry residents Michael and Beth Ann Roberts will also make the trek.
The pair are avid cyclists and will ride in support of a friend’s 10-year-old daughter, Emma, who is battling pediatric brain cancer.
“We are on a team of about 40 members,” Michael Roberts said. “We formed a team of all our friends.”
It’s all to support little Emma, he said.
It’s Roberts’ fourth year to ride in the Pan Mass, his wife’s third.
The couple also take on other projects throughout the year to support Emma’s cause and raise funds including bake sales, car washes, and a motorcycle ride next month.
Taking part in the Pan Mass is also a humbling and unique experience to learn of all the support and stories behind all those riders, Roberts said.
Other Pan Mass riders from this area include Sarah Muncey and Olaf Zwickau, Auburn; Laura Charewicz, Rick Cleary, Scott Davidson, John McMahon, Bob Messier, John Taylor, Carol White, all of Derry; Joe Doucette, Tom Hilse and Sharon Gruchot, all of Londonderry.
To learn more or to support the Pan Mass Challenge, visit pmc.org or call (800) WE-CYCLE.