NEWBURYPORT — The eighth annual Greater Newburyport Pan-Mass Challenge Kids Ride is a go for Sunday, beginning at 9 a.m. at Cashman Park.
The non-competitive event sees area children ages 2 to 15 ride their bicycles along the Clipper City Rail Trail while raising money to fight cancer, with an option for young riders to take part in a trike obstacle course on the tennis courts at Cashman Park.
The PMC Kids Ride is a companion to the larger Pan Mass Challenge, which since its start in 1980 has raised $654 million for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Last year's Greater Newburyport PMC Kids Ride included 117 riders and 45 volunteers, and raised $13,224 for Dana Farber's Jimmy Fund. And with this year's number of riders about to exceed last year's, event organizer Kelly Mahon said she hopes to reach a new fundraising goal of $15,000.
"We're continuing the spirit and energy of the Pan Mass Challenge right here in Newburyport," said Mahon, adding that the local event is one of 33 PMC Kids Rides this year around New England, with the goal of collectively raising $1 million.
"We're so happy to be a part of this larger fundraising goal," she said.
For the second year in a row, the event's "pedal partner" will be Ellie Bauer, an 8-year-old Newbury girl who was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma in 2017. And while Ellie was only able to be towed during last year's ride, this year she hopes to ride her bike alongside the rest of participating kids.
"Ellie and her family have really embraced the spirit of the PMC and were a big part of the event last year," said Mahon. "We're so happy that she's doing well and can participate in the ride."
Mahon said many kids typically ride in honor or memory of a friend or family member with cancer, and that they often express their support with signs during the ride.
"I think it's empowering for them that they can do something to help their friends or someone in their family. t's just a really fun morning, they have a great time and they're making a difference," she said, highlighting the enthusiasm of many of the event's young participants who have already taken to holding their own lemonade stands and homegrown fundraisers in preparation for Sunday.
Mahon also expressed thanks for the many local businesses that have sponsored the event, and said she hopes residents will turn out on the course to be a part of the excitement.
"Folks are welcome to line the rail trail and cheer the kids on that day," said Mahon. "We love holding the event in Newburyport and feeling the energy from the community."
There is a $10 registration fee per person and a required fundraising minimum of $30.
Registering by June 8th guarantees correct t-shirt size, a water bottle, and a goody bag. Walk-on riders are welcome the morning of the ride.
Riders who register by Wednesday will be entered into a raffle for two tickets to the Boston Red Sox game against the Baltimore Orioles on Friday, Sept. 27.
To register for the event or donate, visit https://kids.pmc.org/newburyport
Staff writer Jack Shea covers Newburyport City Hall. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 978-961-3154. Follow him on Twitter @iamjackshea.