Homer resident ready to ride for the Pan-Mass Challenge

Cycling challenge is organized to raise funds for cancer research, treatment

Homer resident Pam Borland will participate with her family in the 44th Pan-Mass Challenge bike-a-thon to raise funds for cancer treatment.

The Pan-Mass Challenge, typically referred to as PMC, is a Massachusetts-based bike-a-thon that raises more money for cancer treatment and research than any other fundraising event in the country, according to the introduction on the event website.

The Aug. 5 and 6 event will raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Borland is originally from Massachusetts and moved to Alaska in 1999. She first participated in the bike-a-thon in 2017.

“I have first-hand knowledge and relatives who are receiving treatment through the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute,” she said.

Her teammates are all cousins, and one of them, she said, three years ago became a Dana-Farber patient.

“He has stage 4 kidney cancer and there’s no cure for this but he’s still with us and it’s really because of this treatment he’s had,” Borland said.

The first Pan-Mass Challenge was organized by Bill Starr in 1980 with only 36 riders and 10 volunteers. Starr is still executive director today and now there are thousands of participants from 43 states and 12 countries, according to the PMC website.

“I can’t say enough good things about what this ride supports. All of the rider-raised funds for the bike-a-thon go towards research. Every single dollar raised goes to Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund.”

According to the race website, “100% of every rider-raised dollar goes to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.”

“I just think it’s really cool that the fundraising doesn’t go to the administrative cost of organizing and running this event. These days there are something like 7,000 riders and 3,000 volunteers who contribute to it,” Borland said.

Riders do have to provide a high registration fee to enter the event. This year it was $6,000 for the route Borland is joining.

In Massachusetts, the event is very well known, according to Borland, who is from the region originally.

“There are PMC signs all over the place and everyone is very aware of it. Coming from Alaska it’s a little harder to raise that kind of money, because residents are not as familiar with the event. Plus you have to fly across the country with your bike,” Borland said.

There are only two other Alaskans participating in the event, according to information provided by PMC.

There are several routes riders can choose from for the event. Borland and her family will participate in the 162-mile Wellesley to Provincetown Monument. The ride includes water stop services, rider tracking and roadside assistance.

“I really believe in this event and how important it is for so many people,” Borland said.

Borland’s Pan-Mass fundraising profile site is: profile.pmc.org/PB0247. At that site she includes more information on why she participates in the event and how people can contribute to her ride.