MILLIS (CBS) – Maddie Alexander isn’t old enough to ride the Pan-Mass Challenge. But the 7-year-old is the inspiration who keeps an army of cyclists pedaling – even during a pandemic.
“Maddie has been a patient at the Jimmy Fund at Dana-Farber for the past four years,” explained her mom, Kelly.
Maddie is one of dozens of PMC Pedal Partners. The young patients become powerful reminders of the ride’s mission to fund a cure for cancer.
This is the 41st year of the Pan-Mass Challenge, a two-day bike-a-thon from Sturbridge to Provincetown. Every rider-raised dollar is donated directly to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
This year that big group ride won’t be happening, but riders are still fundraising, and plan to ride in smaller groups or even solo.
In any other year, the PMC would host a party at Fenway Park where Pedal Partner families can meet the riders. When it became clear that couldn’t happen, the Goose Rocks Beach Cyclists traded in their two wheels for four and formed a car parade past Maddie’s home in Millis.
The team also created a fun video to introduce themselves, set to the Frozen 2 soundtrack. Maddie responded with her own video letting the team know how much she loved it.
“Cancer didn’t really take a break this year,” said Liz Power, one of more than 20 riders on the Goose Rocks Beach team. After nine years together they hope to hit a milestone with this year’s ride, surpassing $1 million in fundraising.
They are doing it all with Maddie in mind.
“We’ve loved getting to know a family and a child going through something harder than our bike ride,” Liz said.
“Knowing the PMC has raised more than $700 million going toward cancer research, I mean that money is going toward helping Maddie live her life every day,” said Kelly.
Some members of Maddie’s team are planning a 100-mile ride this PMC weekend. Maddie and her family hope to meet them – at a safe distance – to cheer them on.
While we may not be planning for the traditional summer ride there are still plenty of incredible stories to share. We hope you’ll join us on WBZ-TV and CBSN Boston on Friday July 31st at 7 p.m. for PMC 2020. WBZ-TV is proud to be your official PMC station.