PEPPERELL — Trent Kelley, 7, and Connie Marinilli, 9, both of Pepperell, have been named Pedal Partner of the 31st annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge.
As a PMC Pedal Partner, Trent and Connie will inspire more than 5,000 cyclists to ride up to 190-miles across Massachusetts and raise money for adult and pediatric cancer care and research through Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s Jimmy Fund.
Trent was diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoma in June 2008 and Connie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in September 2004. They are being treated Dana-Farber Cancer Institute’s pediatric oncology center, the Jimmy Fund Clinic. The PMC Pedal Partner program matches Jimmy Fund Clinic patients with PMC cyclists who will ride in their honor. PMC Pedal Partners range in age from infants to teenagers.
The Pedal Partner program offers an inspiring opportunity for PMC cyclists to connect with pediatric cancer patients being treated in the Jimmy Fund Clinic. For the children, being a designated a Pedal Partner is an exciting experience that takes their minds off their cancer treatments. More often than not, PMC cyclists and Pedal Partner families form long-lasting friendships that extend beyond the PMC.
On Saturday, May 15, Pedal Partners, their families, and the cyclists riding for them will meet for the first time at the Pedal Partner Party at Fenway Park. They get to talk, share jokes, play games, make crafts, and eat brunch.
During PMC weekend, Aug. 7 and 8, photographs of the Pedal Partners will line the bike routes, motivating riders to keep cycling. On Saturday, Aug. 7, many Pedal Partners will meet their cycling teams in Lakeville at a water stop along the PMC route. Pedal Partners and their families connect with their teams and hear stories from the road. For riders, meeting up with the children while riding in the PMC is emotional and meaningful.
“Pedal Partners inspire and motivate PMC riders to train, raise money, and complete the vigorous cycling challenge,” says Billy Starr, PMC founder and executive director. “The Pedal Partner program is a special way for us to extend our ride to the children and families who are fighting the battle against cancer and for individuals and teams who want to share their PMC experience with them.”