Pan-Mass Challenge cyclists to pedal through Wareham on Aug. 4

Aug 2, 2018

While cancer often leaves families feeling hopeless, the Pan-Mass Challenge has been giving hope and help to those affected by the disease. This year, three Wareham cyclists will ride up to 192 miles with the goal of raising $52 million for adult and pediatric cancer care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

During this weekend, over 6,300 cyclists from more than 40 states and 10 countries will gather in Massachusetts to participate in the ride. Riders include everyone from seasoned triathletes to weekend warriors and range in age from 13 to 85. The Pan-Mass Challenge is an annual bike ride where proceeds combat cancer.

Wareham is a part of the route which starts in Sturbridge and ends at Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne. Riders are expected to arrive in Bourne between 12:30 and 4:30 p.m. The route enters Wareham at County Road in West Wareham. It then heads right on Pierceville Road and right onto Papermill Road before continuing on Main Street.

The route stays on Main before taking a right onto Gibbs Avenue, a left onto High Street, and then continuing onto Church Street before looping back to get on Minot Avenue. Cyclists then take Onset Avenue until it reaches Cranberry Highway. They then take Route 28 out of town.

A rest stop will be located at Decas Elementary School on Main Street, where riders can receive water, food, and medical attention.

One of the riders is Nichole Stahmer, an avid cyclist and middle school physical education teacher, who has participated in the challenge for the past five years. The other Wareham riders are Dawn Arsenault and Henry Gleason.

“I finished (the first race) and I felt strong. I felt invigorated.” Stahmer said. This year, she will again participate in the full 192-mile race. There are other, shorter options available for riders. The ride route winds through Wareham and drivers can expect to see cyclists passing through town on Saturday, Aug. 4.

Stahmer said she was inspired to ride after seeing advertisements in Boston while her son was receiving treatment for cancer. Stahmer’s mother and son are both cancert survivors.

“Everyone wants to have a positive impact,” said Stahmer. “Overcoming one really hard thing made me push to overcome other hard things.”

To make her ride a little easier, Stahmer has a specialized speaker for her bike so that she can listen to music while she cycles. Stahmer has brought the speaker on many PMC rides and other cyclists have listened to the music during their races as well.

Stahmer had to raise at least $4,800 to ride. To donate, find her profile on the Pan-Mass Challenge website: But, that isn’t the only way Wareham residents can help out. Along the raceway, there are stops where cyclists can take a break, rest and recharge. Residents set up these stations with water and other needs for the cyclists and offer encouragement along the way.

The PMC donates 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to Dana-Farber through the its fundraising arm, the Jimmy Fund, and is the institute’s largest single contributor, raising more than 53 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue. In 2017, the PMC gave a record gift of $51 million to Dana-Farber, bringing it’s 38-year contribution to a total of more than $598 million since its inception in 1980.