BOSTON (CBS) — This August, more than 6,000 people will hop on their bikes and ride across Massachusetts with a goal of raising $48 million for cancer research. It’s the 38th annual Pan-Mass Challenge.
Among the riders this year will be a father-daughter team taking the meaning of “close” to a whole new level.
When 16-year-old Sammi Janower agreed to join her dad, Andrew, in riding the PMC, she joined him on the same bike. This year, the father-daughter team will ride tandem from Wellesley to Provincetown.
That’s 163 miles over two days–but it won’t come close to what has been their toughest journey.
“I was diagnosed with a brain tumor when I was 3 years old,” Sammi said.
She underwent surgery to remove most of the tumor, and endured two rounds of chemo before she was even 6 years old. A decade later, Sammi is now among the thousands of riders who raise millions for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute through the PMC.
“The only thing I could think of to thank them was to join them,” said Sammi.
“The funds the PMC raises are so critical to Dana Farber,” Andrew said. “They really helped us not just treat Samantha’s tumor but make sure the whole person emerged from this ordeal in a healthy way.”
Sammi tackled half the ride last year, but this year, she wants to finish the whole route with her dad.
“Riding a tandem is really fun,” she said. “He does all the steering. He can shift the gears. I’m kind of just along for the ride. I push him along.”
Andrew told us Sammi is definitely putting in the work to help pedal up the hills.
Along with the muscle, music also powers this father-daughter duo through the miles.
“She became our DJ and pushes me along, and we really enjoy the time together,” said Andrew.
Sammi’s soundtrack is as full of energy as she is. Using a wireless speaker mounted on the bike’s frame, the pair blast Meghan Trainor, Emimen, Macklemore, and more.
“I love dancing. It’s more fun that way,” said the ever-energetic Sammi. “I’ll take selfies [while riding]. People think I’m texting, but I’m really sending a Snapchat to my friends. I definitely have fun.”
It’s a tandem team who couldn’t be closer if they tried. This will be Andrew’s 9th PMC, and his second with Sammi. Sharing the bike with his daughter gives Andrew a new reason to look forward to first weekend in August every year.
“PMC, hands down, is the best part of my year,” he said.