By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TVBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) — It’s a huge week for people working to raise money for cancer research.

One of the biggest fundraisers is the Pan-Mass Challenge and registration for the annual bike-a-thon opens Wednesday.

Thousands of riders and volunteers will sign up, all determined to support patient case and lifesaving research at Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.

One of those riders is a teenager who knows first hand, just how much the money can help.

Helen Montie, 17, was diagnosed with leukemia is January of 2010 and went through two years of intensive treatments.

Today, Montie, of Lincoln is doing well and will ride in the Pan-Mass Challenge as part of a team that formed to support her and her family when she was sick.

“My team is called Team Montie Pythons and the Flying Cyclists,” she says.

This will be the team’s fifth PMC ride and Helen’s second.

“I really wanted to give back to all the organizations that helped me beat cancer,” Montie says.

The Montie Pythons will join the tens of thousands of riders and volunteers who have made the PMC such a success over its 35 years.

More than $400 million have gone to Dana-Farber to help patients and develop new treatments.

“Having gone through treatments myself, I know that these medicines are really expensive and they take a lot of time to create and perfect, so the patients are getting the right kinds of medicines, they’re getting well,” Montie said.

Another patients who has gotten well is 8-year-old Jack Christianson from Nashua, New Hampshire. He’s just finished two years of treatment at Dana-Farber for the same cancer Helen suffered from.

Jack is the Montie Python’s “Pedal Partner,” the face of the illness the team will hold in their heads and hearts as they ride as far as 190 miles.

“He makes everybody smile and he makes them laugh, and I think it’s important he’s part of this,” said Debbie Christianson, Jack’s mother. “I’m positive he would not be in remission without the money that’s raised for the research, and the spirit of the riders.”

That spirit will get Helen and the Montie Pythons across the finish line.

Since 2010, the Montie Pythons have raised more than $200,000 to fight cancer.

WBZ-TV, sister-station myTV38 (WSBK-TV), and have joined the Pan-Mass Challenge, the largest single athletic fundraiser in the country, as its official media partner.

To support the Montie Pythons and the Pan-Mass Challenge, or to register, go to the PMC website.


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