FRAMINGHAM (CBS) – The 40th Pan-Mass Challenge kicks off this weekend and will raise millions of dollars for Dana Farber, to help fight cancer. The annual bike-a-thon relies on 4,000 volunteers to pull off the two-day bike-a-thon, and this year all six members of a single Framingham family will be part of the PMC’s success.
Shaun Keefe has been a PMC volunteer for 24 years. His wife Eileen is 14 years in; sons Alex and Trevor each have volunteered for 16 years; the youngest Keefes – Daniel and Joanne are first-timers.
“When I first started volunteering for the PMC I didn’t really have anybody affected. Then I lost my brother, Terry, at 44 years old and my brother Kevin at 52 years old – both to cancer,” Shaun shared.
Shaun is in the trucking business. He first volunteered in 1994, when the PMC asked him to help load trucks heading to the finish line in Provincetown.
“Being in the freight business, I told them the way they were doing it was totally wrong, and to load my truck and I’ll take it to Provincetown, which was – I think – the intent all along.”
His wife Eileen got involved with the PMC 14 years ago. At first, she volunteered. Then she started riding to remember her mom. Eileen has now raised about $40,000 for the cause.
“One hundred percent of all money raised goes directly to Dana Farber, and that’s – someone else’s mom’s going to survive,” she said.
The Keefes didn’t stop there. Their sons Alex and Trevor first joined their dad at the finish line sixteen years ago.
“You get to be part of, not only a great cause, but you’re also part of a family,” Alex said.
“Even if it’s just a little bit to help, I want to do all that I can,” Trevor added.
Two more Keefes are getting in on the act this year for the first time: 13-year-old Daniel and 10-year-old Joanne, who will celebrate her 11th birthday this PMC weekend.
“I love helping out and I think it’s a good cause to help with,” she told us.
“My family has done it for so long,” Daniel said. “I’m the next generation so I think I should help, too.”
The Keefe family helps set up the finish line and makes sure all of the bikes get back home when the PMC is over.
“We load 13 tractor trailers full of bicycles to go back to Boston, Wellesley and Sturbridge,” Shaun explained.
He is also one of the Provincetown coordinators and works on the PMC all year long, always focused on the mission of raising money to help Dana Farber fight cancer.
“The PMC is so many things to me, it truly is,” he said. “We hope someday we don’t have to have it.”
The Pan-Mass Challenge kickoff is Friday night, at the Opening Ceremonies in Sturbridge. You can watch that live on WBZ-TV and CBSBoston.com at 7 p.m.