WESTWOOD (CBS) – Imagine biking nearly 200 miles. Thousands of people say it’s all worth it, to fight cancer. Registration opens today for the epic, Pan Mass Challenge to benefit Boston’s Dana Farber Cancer Institute. WBZ-TV is the official media partner of the PMC. Nearly 10,000 riders and volunteers will tackle several different courses in this classic bike-a-thon. Their finish times will all be different, but their goal is the same, to provide the resources needed to help patients and advance cancer research. And for many of the riders, like Neil Goldberg, the event is personal.
It’s a miserable, rainy day when we connect with Neil in Westwood. So he’s set up his bike in the garage to get in a workout. A cancer survivor, Neil has conquered the Pan Mass Challenge since 1999. “The PMC, to me, is a way to manage this massive challenge,” he says. After treatment at the Dana Farber for Non Hodgkins Lymphoma, Neil is in remission. “The cancer experience from the moment you’re diagnosed through treatment and even through survivorship can be a very dark and challenging place to live,” he says. But raising thousands of dollars for cancer care and research helps his recovery. “It just enables us to create a ball of energy and light that pushes away a little bit of that darkness,” he says. Though he started riding in the PMC before he was diagnosed with cancer, the grueling bike ride is even more meaningful to him now. “When you’re inside the clinic you see, really, what the Dana Farber is doing from a whole different angle,” he says.
Neil is part of Team Flames, a unique collaboration of survivors and doctors and nurses from Dana Farber. They’ll ride nearly 200 miles over 2 days. “Any rider who has done the event has an image of that child, or children, standing there holding a sign- “I’m a survivor, thank you”….”I’m 5 and alive, thanks to you”…and that kind of common energy between the riders and people on the sidelines is palpable,” he says. And we wondered how he feels after such a huge ride is over. “Sweaty, hungry, exhilarated,” he told us.
Neil has raised nearly $300-thousand for Dana Farber over the years. The total for Team Flames is more than $3-million.
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