Seven Local Pan-Mass Cyclists Will Ride to Honor Family, Friends Lost to Cancer

Seven Bedford residents are once again raising money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through their participation in the upcoming Pan-Mass Challenge bike-a-thon.

The 42-year-old PMC, which calls itself the nation’s most successful athletic fundraiser, is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 7 and 8. Riders secure pledges from donors for mileage covered or for the entire ride. More than 6,000 riders are expected to take part, with a goal of raising $52 million.

Dr. Anthony Aidui, Frank Gardner, Dan Hurwitz, Chris Marino, Anita Paton, and Marty Rogers are training to ride one of the 16 Pan-Mass Challenge routes across Massachusetts, ranging from 25 to 211 miles and designed to cater to all levels of cycling and fundraising ability.

Amy Mason, also a past participant, is taking the year off the road for medical reasons but is still raising money.

Some are selecting a different option – actually a holdover from the 2020 pandemic campaign. “Reimagined riders” cycle wherever, whenever, and however far they choose. They commit to a fundraising minimum. Last summer all PMC participants reimagined their rides.

Participants shared details on their involvement with the challenge, as well as their profile addresses, including details on donating:

Dr. Anthony Aidui

“This is my fifth PMC,” Aiudi said. “I ride with and in honor of my father-in-law Bruce, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2006. He sees every day as a gift and lives life to the fullest. He is a role model to me and to so many others. I also have other relatives and grandparents impacted by cancer.” He added that he is part of the group collectively riding as Team Mapfre.

Aiudi said he has been training for the event through “a lot of solo riding in the greater Bedford area, venturing out past 495 on my long rides. This year, I will actually be a reimagined rider, since my wife and I are expecting our first child PMC weekend.” His PMC profile can be accessed through https://profile.pmc.org/AA0135.

He also has designed apparel for dogs (“PMC Pooch” bandana) to add to the fundraising total. Donations of at least $20 will include the bandana, including shipping. “In the ‘Note to Rider(s)’field, please write [PMC Pooch] if you would like to receive a pooch bandana,” Aiudi said. “Please upload photos (at the PMC or any other time) to your social media, tagging #PMCPooch to promote awareness of the Pan-Mass Challenge!”

Frank Gardner

Gardner declared, “I am inspired by the gratitude and support coming from all of you who support me in this endeavor.” His profile link is https://profile.pmc.org/FG0040. This is Gardner’s third year participating in the PMC, and he is riding to memorialize two friends and colleagues who died in 2020, Jeff Hoyland and Joe Ferrari.

Gardner’s connection with Hoyland, the town’s 2019 citizen-of-the-year, goes back to 1995 “and we remained friends until his death last summer. Throughout his battle with cancer, Jeff was very well known to everybody in my hometown for his community spirit and photography skills,” he said. He pointed out that “at the same time, Jeff maintained a blog for cancer patients and caregivers.”

Ferrari was “a dear colleague and friend with whom I worked at EPA for over 10 years in the Brownfields program,” he continued. “He had a way of making even the most difficult and arduous tasks seem more manageable and enjoyable. He was recognized many times for his professionalism, work ethic, sense of humor, and outstanding results.

“Joe cared deeply for the environment and built New England’s Brownfields revolving loan fund program from the ground up,” Gardner related. “He was the national expert in the program, and he was always happy to help. Undertaking a project this large can be a little intimidating, but knowing that there are so many people who knew and loved Jeff and Joe and who are in my corner, makes all the difference.”

Dan Hurwitz

Hurwitz explained, “I do the PMC because I love to ride and, as with all of us, have been devastated by cancer. What better way to combine those than by raising a lot of money for cancer research while doing something I love?  It is a win-win.” Hurwitz in 2019 rode solo across the country. His profile is http://profile.pmc.org/DH0128.

“This year I am not doing the conventional ride, but rather a reimagined ride, a solo 450-mile, two-week ride to my hometown of Williamsport, PA (the home of Little League baseball),” Hurwitz said. “For training, I am riding my bike with 30 pounds of ‘luggage’ (actually bottles of water – a two-liter soda bottle filled with water weighs five pounds).  Soon I will ramp up to my expected luggage weight of 50 pounds.”

Hurwitz said his wife Jennifer plans to meet him at his brother’s house in Williamsport, “along with both of our daughters, a few cousins, and maybe our brother from California. This is a ride I have long wanted to do, and I am so looking forward to it,” he declared, adding, “I will drive home with Jennifer.”

Chris Marino

Marino noted that not only was my father a victim of cancer but also “my wife had lost both of her parents to cancer before graduating high school.” His PMC resume begins with the 2004 ride, and at that time “I was worried about the fundraising commitment those first few years, but most people have family or friends who have been impacted by the disease, so the cause has near-universal support.”

I ride as part of a team (Kinetic Karma), and that helps with connection and camaraderie for the event. We have riders of all ages and speeds, connected by the desire to fight cancer,” he related. “Family support is key, both for the long hours of training, as well as some of the logistics.”  Since 2010 (with the exception of the Covid-interrupted 2020) he has started riding a day early at the New York border, picking up the classic PMC route in Sturbridge on Saturday and cycling to Provincetown on Sunday.

Marino said he tries to train through the winter, “some years more successfully than others. Once the roads are clear in the spring, I get out more frequently. I do some riding solo and some with clubs in Concord and Winchester. PMC weekend is a highlight of the year: riders, volunteers, supporters all uniting for a common cause.” His profile link is https://profile.pmc.org/CM0156

Anita Paton

Paton declared, “The Pan-Mass Challenge is near and dear to me. This is my seventh year riding. I have raised $32,307.”

“I do most of my training on my own,” Paton said. “I like to ride from Bedford through Carlisle and Concord. I love when I see other PMC riders when I’m riding!” Paton added that she has also joined her team for occasional training rides, starting in Lexington and riding to Carlisle and back. The round trip is 30 miles.

“This year I am riding from Sturbridge to Bourne, 111 miles. I have committed to raise $4,000 for the Pan-Mass Challenge,” Paton reported. “I am so thankful to be able to do this ride! My profile page is http://profile.pmc.org/AP0117

Marty Rogers

Rogers, who said he has been riding the PMC for 19 years, recalled, “I started riding for exercise with a group of riders who were riding the PMC and I thought that would be a good idea since I had lost my mother and grandmother to breast cancer when I was nine.  Since then, I have ridden every year with the same group of people. Within the last few years, four family members and friends died, this time of brain cancer.”

Rogers stated that over the past 18 years he has raised more than $135,000. “Each year I look to increase my fundraising because there is still work to do to make cancer history,” he explained. “My supporters are family members and people I’ve known through work and other activities I participate in.  People have been very generous, even in 2020 when many people increased their donations.” His PMC profile is available at https://profile.pmc.org/MR0111.

Rogers trains with a group of six other riders who live in Lexington, and “we trained throughout the pandemic wearing masks and socially distancing as necessary.” They have opted for the 2021 reimagined ride, “where we ride as a group using whatever route we want.  The hope is that next year will go back to full-blown PMC.”

Amy Mason

Mason has participated as part of a team, “Click Out, CLICK OUT, formed in 2005 when Jill, my sister-in-law and loving aunt to our kids, had a recurrence of ovarian cancer. She was diagnosed as a young adult and endured many treatments, trials, and surgeries as well as several recurrences over the years.”

She continued, “Jill’s bravery, positive attitude, and zest for life were inspiring. We continue to celebrate her life and honor her memory, by raising funds for cancer research and cures.”

Mason explained that “after 16 years of riding the PMC, I have to sit this one out due to medical reasons. Thankfully, I am recovering well and looking forward to being out on the route cheering on our team and all of the dedicated PMC riders. I am still 100 percent committed to raising funds.” Her PMC page can be accessed through aem.mason10@gmail.com.

For more information on the Pan-Mass Challenge, visit www.pmc.org.

Mike Rosenberg can be reached at mike@thebedfordcitizen.org, or 781-983-1763


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