BOSTON (CBS) – We’ve all had to switch up some of our favorite summer traditions because of coronavirus. And that’s also true for the thousands of cyclists who ride the Pan-Mass Challenge every year.
The 2-day bike-a-thon raises millions of dollars for cancer care and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Without the big group ride this year, a New Hampshire father and daughter decided to bring the ride right to the front door of their supporters.
David and Olivia Belleville of Pelham, New Hampshire have been taking on the PMC on a tandem bike for three years.
“Everyone thinks I’m not, but I am pedaling,” insisted Olivia.
Riding tandem is how David got Olivia to join him on the ride.
“This will be my 28th year riding in the PMC,” he said. “It’s a lifestyle. It consumes the year for training through the winter, the spring, and celebrating in the summer with my family.”
Olivia has been going to the finish line and taking part in kids rides as long as she can remember.
“It’s always been a part of my life, since i was 10 months old. And I felt like this is such an important thing to do,” she said.
This tandem team still plans to bike the full 192 miles. It won’t be the traditional route of Sturbridge to Provincetown but in a series of shorter rides. The pair is going door to door to personally thank donors for giving to the cause – funding a cure for cancer.
“With the reimagined ride its little more difficult to get the whole feel of PMC weekend. But the motivation is still there and the drive to do what is right is still there,” said Olivia.
“I think being able to connect with our donors face to face is really important so for us. It’s a new level of experiencing the PMC with our donors,” added David.
Shannon Sprague, a longtime donor to the Belleville’s, appreciates this year’s effort.
“It’s no surprise that they are doing something, that they’ve reimagined because they can’t do the official ride. I think it’s great,” said Sprague. “It shows their dedication and their hearts are just amazing.”
The Belleville’s said they couldn’t let coronavirus slow down their fundraising efforts.
“The fact that COVID hit didn’t stop us from raising the money or asking for the money,” said David. “Granted we will miss the camaraderie of the PMC, the people, the crowds, the riders but given the situation we are in, this is the next best thing.”
So far, David and Olivia, have already logged 125 miles together.
Every rider-raised dollar goes directly to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Pan-Mass Challenge has raised more than $700 million since it began in 1980.
We hope you’ll join us on WBZ-TV and CBSN Boston on Friday, July 31st at 7pm for “PMC 2020.” While we may not be planning for the traditional summer ride there are still plenty of incredible stories to share. WBZ is proud to be your official PMC station.
Join us on WBZ-TV and CBSBoston.com Friday, July 31st at 7 p.m. for PMC 2020.