By Paul Burton

NORTON (CBS) – Whoever coined the phrase strength comes in numbers did not anticipate the grit and determination of the small groups of Pan-Mass Challenge riders like Team Jake in Norton. This group of seven riders took to the streets Saturday to help raise money for cancer research.

“We ride to raise money, right? That’s why we ride. We love each other, but we ride to fight cancer,” said David Newell of Team Jake.

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Team Jake will ride 70 miles over two days for a reimagined Pan-Mass Challenge. (WBZ-TV)

Traditionally, the ride hosts 7,000 riders. This year the PMC was reimagined due to the coronavirus. Team Jake will ride 70 miles over two days.

“This ride is very important. Sadly, we just lost a little girl in our town in Easton, and it’s just a constant reminder that so much work has to be done,” said PMC rider Erica Murphy.

She also rides for her 10-year-old daughter Emma, who has been battling cancer since she was 6.

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When asked if she knew why her mother was riding, Emma said, “For cancer research.”

Murphy rides with a picture of Emma on her bike and on the back of her shirt to inspire her.

“Even though we’ve made great progress in the cancer research, there’s still so much more to do because we’re still losing our loved ones, sadly,” Murphy said.

“Cancer hasn’t been canceled,” Newell said.

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The PMC is hoping to raise $41 million in its 41st year. Every rider-raised dollar is donated to Dana-Farber. To donate, visit

Paul Burton