Baldwinsville “It’s like riding a bike.”
After decades without serious cycling, Chris Arnold bought his first “adult” bike when he turned 40 and on his actual birthday, he participated in his first Pan-Massachusetts Challenge choosing the 190-mile, two-day classic course.
“It was my first time riding a century (100 miles),” he said. Thirteen years later, he’s still at it and a seasoned pro at both cycling and fundraising.
Last year, Arnold raised $11,600 for PMC, which put his personal fundraising efforts past the $100,000 mark of overall money raised for PMC since he started in 1998. This year, his goal is $12,000, of which he has raised $7,600. While the 32nd annual ride is this weekend, Arnold has until Oct. 1 to meet his goal.
The cause hits home for Arnold, who organizes Paige’s Butterfly Run held in memory of his daughter, Paige Yeomans Arnold, an 8-year-old student who attended Palmer Elementary School before succumbing to cancer in 1994.
“I look at PBR, which is in Paige’s memory,” he said. “That helps local people and the local effort. Pan Mass is a national fundraiser and has a great deal more far-reaching research for all types of cancer. I think it’s important to support both. There is also a personal connection with Paige as she went to Dana-Farber for her second operation and a bone marrow transplant.”
The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge is the nation’s pioneer charity bike-a-thon that raises more money than any other athletic fundraising event in the country. Arnold, along with Baldwinsville’s Tracy Menapace, will be among 5,000 cyclists who will ride with the collective goal of raising $34 million to support lifesaving adult and pediatric cancer care and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“The PMC is the most successful fundraising event in the country,” Arnold said, adding the communities show a lot of support for the riders. “The best part is meeting people on the ride, you hear their stories and it’s moving.”