Cheers to local residents who will be bicycling this weekend to raise money for the fight against cancer.
On Aug. 4 and 5, more than a dozen cyclists from Derry and Londonderry will be among the 5,000 participating in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, the nation’s largest charity bicycling event. The benefit ride, now in its 33rd year, supports adult and pediatric cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund. The goal this year is to raise $36 million.
The Pan-Mass Challenge gives 100 percent of every dollar riders raise directly to the Jimmy Fund.
Participating cyclists can choose from 11 routes of varying mileage depending on their level of 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.
Six members of the Galluzzo family of Londonderry will participate in the ride.
Three Galluzzo brothers, Anthony, Matt and Mike, will 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 told reporter Julie Huss. “You also see many saved. These are some of the nice positives.”
Scott Davidson of Derry will ride for the first time this weekend, honoring an uncle and eight close friends who battled the disease.
“I was thinking about doing it for a couple of years,” Davidson told Huss.
When his family day-care provider’s daughter was diagnosed with leukemia at age 3, Davidson decided it was time to ride.