By Tim Lima
---- — AMESBURY – Going the extra mile is something that Katherine Brown and her Team Riverside Rockets teammates have made a habit of – both literally and figuratively.
“The team came together because we have all lost someone to cancer and feel like we can do our part in the fight against it,” Brown said. “We want to turn our losses into something positive, and we feel that the Pan-Mass Challenge is the best way to do so.”
Annual members of the Pan-Mass Challenge, Brown and fellow Amesbury residents Emily Olmstead, Aaron Millett and Kevin Murphy joined together to create the team that has already raised $198,000 for the Jimmy Fund in just three years.
While participating in the world famous fundraising effort, including riding in the 190 miles from Sturbridge to Provincetown, the team has also worked to create events of its own. Along with a pasta dinner night, a bike swap and a live auction, the group has also worked to create its own version of the Pan-Mass Challenge, a smaller-scale bike ride. This bike ride, called the Pan-Merrimack Challenge, begins and ends at Michael’s Harborside Restaurant on the Saturday before Father’s Day.
“It’s a great group of people,” Brown said. “We are made up of 25 people ranging from their mid-20s to their mid-70s. We have a father-daughter tandem and a brother-sister tandem. Our team is made up of cancer patients, survivors and those who have lost someone dear to them.”
While the impact cancer has had on the group is a strong motivational force in itself, Team Riverside Rockets will have added determination for this year’s event as two of its own are currently fighting the disease.
Wes, a 3-year-old Jimmy Fund patient who the team has dedicated its ride to for the second straight year, is with the team in spirit once again.
“We had a February fundraiser that Wes and his whole family came to,” Brown said. “We caught up and last year we had a training ride to Wes’ house. We also carry a banner of Wes to the Pan-Mass Challenge and to all of our fundraisers.”
Holly, a member of the team, will serve as its virtual rider as she is currently undergoing cancer treatments.
“A virtual rider is someone who’s not able to physically ride, but who still helps to raise money,” Brown said. “She is still one of our teammates, though she won’t be with us this year.”
The team hopes to raise a total of $200,000 this year – aiming to surpass its combined total from the three previous years. To help, please visit the team’s website at: http://www2.pmc.org/profile/TR0104