Local cyclists will once again make a big showing at this year’s Pan-Massachusetts Challenge bike ride.
The benefit ride, now in its 33rd year, is set for Aug. 4 and 5, and is the nation’s 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 to help with the goal of raising $36 million. It’s all to support adult and pediatric cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.
For the Galluzzo family of Londonderry, it’s a way to help others while sharing great times together.
Six family members will participate in the ride again this year.
Three Galluzzo brothers, Anthony, Matt and Mike, will make the ride again to honor their father Tony and his brother, Joe. Both men were diagnosed years ago with a rare nasopharyngeal cancer.
John Galluzzo was the first to ride in the PMC in 1992.
Since then, he said, the family has participated in one form or another to honor those within the family who have beat cancer, and also the families and individuals they have met through the years along the PMC route.
“Each year, you get to know more and more people stricken with cancer,” Galluzzo said. “You also see many saved. These are some of the nice positives.”
Pan-Mass riders range in age from 13 to 88. Many are seasoned athletes; some are weekend bike warriors only training for this event.
Cyclists choose from 11 routes of varying mileage, catering to all levels of cycling ability. There are six two-day routes, ranging from 153 to 190 miles, and also five one-day rides ranging from 25 to 110 miles.
“The PMC is the gold standard of athletic fundraising events,” Pan-Massachusetts Challenge founder and director Billy Starr said. “(Cyclists) are committed to raising money for cancer research as they are pedaling the miles. PMC cyclists are all heart and soul.”