Team Brielle’s Brigade Begins Pan-Mass Challenge
EAST LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WGGB)- The Pan-Mass Challenge draws over 5,000 cyclists from the country to ride across Massachusetts. The challenge raises more money than any athletic fundraising event in the country and all proceeds go to cancer research. Friday afternoon we caught up with one local team riding the full distance.
Police escort Brielle’s Brigade right to their lunch stop in East Longmeadow. The team of nine began pedaling in Hillsdale New York, right on the Western Mass. border.
“We pushed off this morning at about 7:25 right on time!” says Team Captain, Edward Moses.
Riders say the first stretch may be the toughest.
“A lot of hill climbing coming through the Berkshires,” says team rider, Michael Moses.
But its just the start. The final destination is cross the entire Commonwealth to the edge of Cape Cod.
“Today is 95 miles, Saturday is 111, and Sunday is about 85 miles,” Edward explains.
It’s about 300 miles in total, and with that distance you’d think everyone was an experienced rider. But the reality is, most are rookies. They train long and hard for one reason.
“Started the team when Brielle Laplante was first diagnosed with cancer and wanted to do something positive for her for the family,” says Michael.
“It’s our ninth year riding and our fundraising we hope to hit a million dollars this year,” Ed continues.
Each rest stop allows the chance for riders to refuel and recover. East Longmeadow marks Brielle’s hometown, and it’s about 70 miles in.
“We have a lot of people honking their horns, cheering us on along the way,” says Michael.
“It’s great that everyone is doing this for her because she was such a nice person” says Brielle’s sister, Jaclyn Laplante.
The pace averages about 15 miles an hour and they all stick together right to the very end in Provincetown.
There they celebrate the Pan-Mass journey and Brielle’s life.
The Pan-Mass Challenge has donated 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer institute through its Jimmy Fund.
The goal this year is to raise 40 million dollars. Since the start in 1980 the Pan-Mass challenge has raised nearly a half billion dollars.