Jul 6, 2006

Pan Mass Challenge [LINK]

This is a photograph of my brother–in–law, Bryce McHale. Bryce died last year from complications relating to colon cancer, a few days shy of his 41st birthday. I am riding in the Pan–Mass Challenge in his memory, and ask your support.

Bryce was a smart, gentle, kind, and funny man. A chemist, he built up a successful environmental testing firm in suburban Detroit that he ultimately willed to his employees.

Despite state–of–the–art treatment, including consultation at the world–class Mayo Clinic, his death can be partly attributed to a simple failure to distinguish the recurrence of cancer following chemotherapy from a persistent surgical infection. It was rather a shock for members of his family to realize that, despite all the advanced research and the availability of expert specialists and complex testing equipment, there are such gaps in our more mundane abilities. Successfully treating cancer patients in the future will involve work in all these areas.

The Pan–Mass Challenge is a two–day bicycle ride across much of Massachusetts that supports Boston's Dana–Farber Cancer Institute via its Jimmy Fund. I will be riding from Sturbridge to Provincetown, a total of 192 miles. Aside from my fundraising goal, my personal goal involves getting to the finish line each day well before noon.

The PMC is the nation's oldest fundraising bike–a–thon, and raises more money than any other charitable athletic event. It is run almost entirely by volunteers, which means an impressive 97 percent of all funds raised goes directly to cancer research. In turn, Dana Farber receives near–perfect scores from the National Institutes of Health in the quality and efficiency of its research.

Last year's Pan–Mass Challenge raised $23 million for the Jimmy Fund, the largest one–time gift in Dana–Farber's history. I had the opportunity to ride in 2005, unfortunately too late for it to serve as inspiration for Bryce himself. I was overwhelmed by the dedication of the event's organizers and volunteers, not to mention its thousands of riders.

Thank you for your consideration, and I hope you contribute whatever you can.

To donate, follow this posting's link and click on the e-Gift button. Otherwise from anywhere else on the PMC.org site, click "e-gifts." In the resulting screen, select "sponsor one rider," then "select a person by eGift ID." My ID is MS0257.

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