BOSTON (CBS) — There is one stretch of the Pan-Mass Challenge that can be harder than any hill: “That moment when you’re riding into one of the water stops and you see all the posters of the kids who are going through treatment. I always got so emotional,” explained long-time PMC Rider, Taylor Chinitz. Taylor grew up with the PMC, first doing smaller kids rides and then she joined her dad for the 192-mile, 2-day ride as soon as she turned 16.
“It’s the purpose of that weekend, to raise money and support all the people that are going through treatment, effected by cancer in some way,” she said. Testing her own physical limits was a thrill and helping others made it even sweeter.
Then the mission of the PMC became more personal than ever. “She said, there a few things I think this could be. But, we most likely think it’s lymphoma,” said Taylor, recalling the moment the doctor delivered the news. Last spring, at the age of 22, doctors found a mass inside Taylor’s chest. It was Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“She is just an incredible, remarkable girl. So strong, such a fighter. I think we look at life differently now,” said Taylor’s mom, Karen, while hugging her daughter. Karen said Taylor stayed positive through six months of chemotherapy followed by radiation.
Taylor was unable to ride in the PMC last year because of treatment. “They think I am finished with treatment and obviously hearing that I signed up for the PMC. I just couldn’t wait to get back involved,” Taylor said with a big smile. Taylor will now ride in PMC as part of the celebrated group of cancer survivors known as “Living Proof.” This year there are more than 950 Living Proof riders and volunteers taking part in the PMC. “The Living Proof is really living proof of what our work does,” said Michael Chinitz, Taylor’s dad.
Michael is a veteran PMC-er. He supported the cause of raising funds for cancer research and treatment long before it hit so close to home. He doesn’t expect to hold back his emotions when he sees his first-born toasting to her health PMC weekend, “I’ll be choking back the tears, with a lump in my throat, but I’ll be beaming with pride.” And for the first time, Taylor’s mom will also be getting on the bike. “Any time I feel like slowing down or giving up I’m going to think of Taylor, you know, getting her chemo and being so positive during that whole period.”
Those posters of young cancer survivors in Lakeville will once again motivate Taylor to keep pedaling. And now Taylor, herself, will be providing inspiration to other riders at every mile. “I’ll keep riding,” said Taylor. “I think I’ll ride forever.”
Every rider-raised dollar is donated to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for life-saving cancer research and treatment. This year the PMC’s goal is to raise a record $60 million.
WBZ is proud to be your official PMC station. Please join us Friday, August 2nd for Opening Ceremonies live from Sturbridge at 7 p.m. live on WBZ-TV.