, Newburyport, MA

August 26, 2013

Team commits to raise $75,000

Newburyport Daily News

---- — To the editor:

As you may already be aware, the Pan-Mass Challenge took place on Aug. 3 and 4. As a part of Team CHUCKLE “Cycling Helps Us Cure Kids’ LivEs,” I and 13 other team members took part in this wonderful ride, with routes that stretch as long as 190 miles over the two-day weekend.

Completing the ride was only half the battle. As a team we have committed to raising $75,000 for cancer research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund. To help us meet this goal, Team CHUCKLE co-hosted “Cancer Shucks,” an oyster-themed fundraiser on the evening of Monday, Aug. 19, at Brine in Newburyport. Dozens of local merchants, restaurants, hotels and private donors contributed auction and raffle items, Brine enlisted “celebrity chefs” from some of the top restaurants in New England and this event was completely sold out.

Each Pan-Mass Challenge team is paired with a “pedal partner,” a child undergoing cancer treatment at Dana-Farber. Our pedal partner, Tatyana Abrams, her mother, Deanna Abrams, and father, Danya Abrams, joined us for this event. Tatyana is a 15-year-old leukemia survivor, and will return to school in September, after a successful bone marrow transplant in 2010, double lung transplant in 2012 and years of fighting for her life. Tatyana and her family are truly inspiring. They represent a victory over cancer. When Tatyana was searching for a bone marrow donor, her story was covered in the Boston Globe, as her father, Danya, starred on the 1994 Boston College basketball team when it upset No. 1-ranked North Carolina in the NCAA tournament.

The Pan-Mass Challenge is the largest single day “a-thon” fundraiser in the United States and was founded by Billy Starr in 1980. Over its 33-year history, it has raised over $400 million for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Last year the event raised $37 million and the goal for 2013 is to raise $39 million for cancer research and treatment. Like many others, the members of Team CHUCKLE have all been touched by cancer’s reach, but we are fighting back … on our bikes and by shucking oysters!

Thank you for helping to get the word out about the Pan-Mass Challenge and the thousands who ride, raise funds, donate and volunteer for this event each year.

Deanne Brand