Three Great Neck residents, Alan Blondman, Douglas Spector and Adam Wittenstein, joined 6,300 cyclists from 43 states and 10 countries for the Pan Mass Challenge (PMC), which raises millions of dollars for lifesaving cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through an annual bike-a-thon that crosses the Commonwealth of Massachusetts each August. Last year alone, PMC raised $51 million, and this year, the organization hopes to raise even more.
Spector began participating at PMC 13 years ago on Team Toby, after a friend’s mother passed away following a courageous battle with cancer. An avid cyclist, Spector trains throughout the year for this event and participated in the Tour de Fox for Parkinson’s as well. Spector returns to the PMC event year after year with the same, if not more, energy. His passion for the event stems from the memories it has with his friends from Union College and his appreciation and awe for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.
Every year, this event brings Spector and his friends together for a wonderful cause and gives them the opportunity to bond over their memories and shared admiration for the cause.
“Dana Farber is a special place on the cutting edge of treatment and research,” said Spector. “Plus, it’s become an annual reunion of sorts for me, as I am able to reconnect each year with my supporters made up of over 200 donors who I know from all walks of my life, some I have known since elementary school. It’s very special to feel that love directed to such an important cause.”
The outpouring of support encourages Spector to keep going, making strides year after year for this important cause.
Wittenstein, who has been participating in PMC for six years, just completed a 50-mile ride for Team Kermit. Comprised of 60 members dedicated to Wittenstein’s cousin who lost a battle with brain and spinal cancer, Team Kermit raises money for research in these areas and, last year, raised more than $400,000.
Wittenstein is proud to ride for PMC, because the charity stays true to its intentions and endeavors, and the dedication it shows to conducting thorough research to save lives is unparalleled.
“Unlike many other fundraisers, I know that with PMC, every rider-raised dollar goes directly to the cause of cancer treatment and research,” said Wittenstein. “The PMC is especially meaningful to me, since I have met people who are surviving and, in many cases, thriving solely because of the treatment and research at Dana Farber Cancer Institute.”
The partnership between PMC and Dana Farber has been a driving force for the riders to keep returning. People like Wittenstein who participate in memory of a loved one find solace in the work that the institute does and, through riding, find hope.
Alan Blondman, who participated in the event for the eighth year in a row, met his goal in raising $25,000 this year. Blondman’s passion for PMC is unmatched and unprecedented. After losing his grandmother and sister-in-law to cancer, Blondman heard of the event from his friend Douglas Spector and has been a rider ever since.
“I felt that this event allowed me to be able to do something significant to help with the cause of finding treatments and cures for these terrible diseases and at the same time do something I love, bicycling,” said Blondman.
Radiating devotion for PMC, Blondman begins training in May for the August event, ensuring that he will be able to give his all for the race. Each year, his experience at PMC is exceptional and makes for an emotionally transforming experience.
“There has never been a summer that I haven’t had the opportunity to meet some amazing people who have survived cancer,” said Blondman. “Their stories of fighting these diseases and then participating in the ride are truly inspiring.”
By meeting and connecting with these people each year, Blondman is able to learn from their experiences, making him a more motivated rider and more passionate about the cause.
“I just met a young man this summer who is a survivor of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and was participating for the first time,” explained Blondman. “His courage and resolve to make a difference made me feel that my riding paled in comparison to what he has gone through.”
The survivors are the event’s driving force, bringing hope to families and patients struggling from the effects of cancer and motivating the riders and donors.
“As I have participated each summer, I have heard these stories over and over again,” said Blondman. “It is the motivating force that makes you realize that we
are really doing some good.”
Make a difference by donating to Douglas Spector at www.pmc.org/DS0207; Adam Wittenstein at www.pmc.org/aw0134; and Alan Blondman at http://profile.pmc.org/AB0267.