BOSTON (CBS) – Thousands of cyclists will be pedaling their way across Massachusetts this weekend to raise money for cancer patients and research.
We introduce you to a special teen from Boylston who will be the youngest cancer survivor to ride in the Pan-Mass Challenge.
Sam Mahler was just three years old when he was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of cancer.
He had to have a series of operations.
Donate: To Sam & His Family
“I had no idea. All I knew was that I had go to the hospital to get some shots and x-rays. I don’t remember the surgeries and whatever,” said Sam.
“It’s an emotional punch in the gut,” said Mike Mahler, Sam’s dad.
The following year, Sam’s dad started riding the Pan-Mass Challenge to help raise money for the Jimmy Fund at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
“I’ve been in it every year. It’s sort of a no-brainer, like a lifestyle. I’ve been looking forward to the day Sam would sign up for the PMC and I can ride next to him,” said Mike.
This weekend, Sam who’s now 13, will become the youngest cancer survivor to ride in the PMC. He’s taking part in the 50-mile teen ride in memory of his friend Jake, who died of neuroblastoma last year.
“We rode for him for several years and watched Jake battle this rather insidious form of cancer and that was last April and was a big motivator for why Sam wanted to ride this year,” said Mike.
“I feel like I’m helping a lot of families who have gone through a lot of cancer and a lot of people in the world have had cancer affect their life somehow,” said Sam.
Both Sam and his dad say they’re especially excited about this weekend’s ride because Lance Armstrong will be taking part in it.