Courtesy of PMC

Courtesy of PMC

This weekend marks the 35th year of the Pan-Mass Challenge bike-a-thon benefitting cancer research and patient care.

As legions of PMC riders prepare to click in for up to 192 miles over two days, lifted by several thousand volunteers and supporters along the roadsides, it’s worth taking stock of the breadth of their contribution.

This year’s official $45 million fundraising goal will bring the event’s contribution to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute to a whopping $500 million. Of course, it’s about much more than numbers. As chronicled in my book, Closer By The Mile, the two-day event is a fiesta of reciprocal giving that is unparalleled in the world of sports philanthropy.

Dr. Edward Benz, DFCI’s CEO, recently shared some highlights to point out “where the money goes.” Among the highlights:

* The PMC accounts for over half of all Jimmy Fund fundraising, which is the major source of Dana-Farber’s flexible or so called “unrestricted” fundraising

* PMC funds primarily support research, and also unreimbursed clinical services, like the founding of The Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies

* State of the art research facilities in the new Longwood Center, including specialized chemical fume hoods and equipment necessary to establish the chemistry and early drug development program

Where the money goes will make you smile.

* Recruiting world-class researchers in the fields of oncology, combinatorial chemistry and pediatric hematology/oncology. These chemists have already produced multiple drugs that have entered clinical trials, with some close to FDA approval.

* Supports researchers who have also made novel tool compounds (probes) that are allowing DFCI to dissect the behavior of tumors at the absolute finest details of their molecular abnormalities, and to be able to image them in a non invasive real time way.

Click here to continue reading Dr. Benz’s letter.

Last year, riders raised $41 million despite tough conditions including a driving, cold rain on Saturday that brought on hypothermia among dozens of participants. Click here for the PMC’s pie chart of where the donations went.

Although my wife and I are not riding again this year, we’re supporting several friends who are, and I was glad to help out a little at a PMC Kids Ride in Plymouth last month. We’re committed to staying involved by volunteering and riding, and look forward to being fully in the saddle again.

An enthusiast at PMC Kids Ride in Plymouth, June, 2015. Courtesy of PMC.

An enthusiast at PMC Kids Ride in Plymouth, June, 2015. Courtesy of PMC.

For more on PMC weekend, check out the PMC blog!