By Lisa Hughes


BOSTON (CBS)  — The Pan-Mass Challenge is a test of endurance and commitment. In August, more than 6,000 cyclists will ride 192 miles from Sturbridge to Provincetown over two days. But the PMC is more than just one weekend.

Months before the annual PMC, hundreds of kids and adult volunteers gathered in Middleboro for the Cranberry Country PMC Kids Ride. The riders may be smaller and the course is a whole lot shorter but the goal is just as big. “To help people that are sick,” explained one of the pint-sized participants.

Every rider-raised dollar is donated directly to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for life-saving treatment and research.

The Middleboro event is one of 30 similar rides, just for kids, that take place throughout the year. “The big part of this, for me, is teaching the kids that they can make a difference,” said Bill Goldsmith. Goldsmith is a 12-year PMC rider and he’s been organizing the Middleboro ride for five years. “I wanted this year to be special.”

More than 400 kids hopped on their bikes for this year’s ride, all to honor eight-year Chloe Harding, who took part in this ride for three years, even while undergoing cancer treatments. “When she was four months old, she was diagnosed with leukemia. We were blessed to have her for another 8 1/2 years,” said Chloe’s mom, Lindsay Harding. “The leukemia ended up coming back and we lost her to cancer in February.”

Chloe Harding’s mother, Lindsay, and brother Wyatt, remember her with “Chloe Strong” t-shirts (WBZ-TV)

This year’s ride was dedicated to Chloe. “Chloe had a passion for helping others and it was her desire every year to ride. She always wanted to help other kids and help other kids with cancer. So, this ride, in itself, really means a lot to us.” said Harding.

Friends and families proudly wore bright orange “Chloe Strong” shirts for the ride, including her best friend and older brother, Wyatt. “I think it’s just plain old nice because everyone’s coming out for a good cause,” he said.

Before the start of the morning ride, Chloe’s mom addressed the crowd. “She would be so proud of each and every one of you that has come out raised funds for her fight. We will someday find a cure,” said Harding.

The PMC kids rides are on track to raise $1 million. It’s all part of the larger fundraising goal of a record $60 million.

This is the 40th annual PMC and WBZ is proud to be your official Pan-Mass Challenge station. We hope you’ll join us for PMC OpeningCeremonies live from Sturbridge on Friday, August 2nd at 7 pm.

Lisa Hughes

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