NEWBURYPORT — It's commonly known that laughter can be the best medicine. While that axiom holds true for many situations, for Team Chuckle it may be just as prophetic when it comes to helping find a cure for cancer.
Members of the locally based Team Chuckle and more than 5,000 other riders are going to participate in this year's Pan-Mass Challenge, the 192-mile bike-a-thon that goes from Sturbridge to Provincetown over the course of two days. The event is scheduled for Aug. 6 and 7. Money raised during the bike-a-thon goes to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, as it continues its relentless battle against cancer. It is hoped that bikers will top last year's total of $33 million, which would represent half of Dana Farber's annual operating budget.
Team Chuckle was formed in 2010 with the goal of harnessing the support of Boston-area comedians to raise money. The team started with only four people last year but has upped its membership tenfold. Last year, the Pan-Mass Chuckle fundraiser at Nick's Comedy Stop in Boston raised more than $26,000 for Dana Farber.
Tonight, the Pan-Mass Chuckle returns to Nick's Comedy Stop and again will feature local and nationally known comedians who have joined Team Chuckle's battle to help fund a cure for cancer. More than 10 comedians, three of whom are going to be riding in the Pan-Mass Challenge, are expected to take the stage tonight starting at 8. Those scheduled to perform include Kelly MacFarland, Don Zollo, Corey Rodrigues and Craig Murphy. The evening will also feature a silent raffle with Red Sox/Yankees tickets and gift certificates to restaurants among the items up for grabs. Tickets for the event are $50 with a VIP package, starting an hour earlier at 7 p.m., available for $75. Another Pan-Mass Chuckle is scheduled for July.
"It will be a lot of laughs, no matter what," Team Chuckle's Nick Corvinus said.
Among the members of Team Chuckle are Rob Brennan of Amesbury and Newburyport's Corvinus, who both know firsthand what cancer can do to a family member.
Brennan's younger sister, Dana, is battling rhabdomyosarcoma, a rare cancer that affects the head or neck or other parts of the body with less skeletal muscle. Corvinus, who is president of a financial counseling company, The Corvinus Group, joined Team Chuckle after his wife was diagnosed with breast cancer, knowing he couldn't take away her cancer himself.
"That was something I could do," Corvinus said of joining Team Chuckle.
For Brennan, the Pan-Mass Challenge serves as a surefire way to raise money that goes directly to cancer research at Dana Farber. Some of those research dollars went toward helping beat his sister's cancer into remission, he said.
"For me and my family, the dots couldn't be any closer together," Brennan said.
This year, Team Chuckle has been paired with two pedal partners, a 4-year-old girl and an 18-year-old high school student from Bourne, whose lives have been dramatically altered since they were diagnosed with cancer.
Brennan said that knowing their pedal partners are supporting them provides motivation for those days where they may not exactly want to train or pick up the phone and solicit donations.
"But here we have two kids who are going through this," Brennan said.
For more information on Team Chuckle and how you can help, visit teamchuckle.org. SClB