BOSTON (CBS) – This summer thousands of riders will take part in a two day bike-a-thon across Massachusetts to raise money for cancer research and treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

It’s the Pan-Mass Challenge. And this year, one woman’s mission will be to carry on her husband’s legacy.

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This is a love story that defies time, distance, and heartbreak.

“This was actually my first gift from Brendan when we were dating,” said Kim Shea as she hauled her bike out of the garage.

Kim Shea with her bike, a gift from her late husband. (WBZ-TV)

Kim will be riding her first PMC this year in memory of her husband.

It was a love story that began in fifth grade.

Kim instantly felt a connection when they first met–“just that little thing in your stomach that tells you that you care about someone.”

Brendan was tall and friendly. Kim was the new girl in town and they were fast friends.

Kim and Brendan in an old school photo. (WBZ-TV)

But then both their families moved away.

After 15 years apart Brendan tracked down Kim living in Seattle and gave her a call.

“Best crazy decision that man ever made in my opinion,” Kim said with a broad smile.

Shortly after that call, Brendan flew out to Seattle to visit Kim and two years later they were married.

Brendan and Kim. (WBZ-TV)

Brendan survived cancer twice–once as a kid, and again while dating Kim.

He had his last radiation treatment before they were married. With cancer behind him this young couple started life together, first in Seattle then in Canton.

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“We had our son in 2012. He was the most amazing father I ever met. They were best buddies they did everything together,” said Kim.

But in the cruelest twist of fate, Brendan died in a tragic accident last year.

“At 34, you never anticipate being in that situation,” Kim said. “No one does. No one ever plans to lose a partner.”

Kim and Brendan with their son. (WBZ-TV)

Even in the fog of grief Kim clearly knew one thing.

“The day he passed away, I knew I was going to do the PMC,” she said. “That’s how important this organization has been to Brendan.”

In fact, he rode the PMC 5 times.

“Brendan was exuberant and really just glowed when he got to talk about the PMC,” Kim said. “Really, my goal is to keep his legacy alive.”

It’s a legacy of helping others beat the disease he conquered twice and one of true love.

“The time that I had with Brendan was amazing,” she said. “He filled my life with so much joy. He was a huge blessing.”

Brendan and his son at the 2015 Pan-Mass Challenge. (WBZ-TV)

Kim will be riding with team “B-Brave” named in honor of Brendan. His friends and family members will be riding by her side, every mile.

If you’d like to learn more about the PMC click here, and to support Kim’s ride, click here.

WBZ is proud to be your official PMC station. You can watch PMC Opening Ceremonies live from Sturbridge on WBZ at 7pm, Friday, August 4th.

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We will also have live coverage of the ride straight through PMC Weekend, August 5th & 6th.