Pan-Mass Challenge honors pediatric cancer patients at Fenway

Dana-Farber pediatric cancer patients enjoyed a special day at Fenway Park sponsored by the Pan-Mass Challenge.

Patients like 2-year-old William Holbrook, also known as “Pedal Partners,” got to meet their team of cyclists raising money to defeat cancer at the organization’s annual race.

William was diagnosed with a type of liver cancer when he was just 10 months old. His team of cyclists will join thousands more to bike the 192 miles from Sturbridge to Provincetown.

“To bike on behalf of a child like this means an awful lot to all of us,” 21- time PMC cyclist John Reilly said.

The PMC founder Billy Starr said it is the largest ride-a-thon in the world and has raised $654 million since 1980.

“We are achieving our mission but, unfortunately, there’s a ton more work to be done, a lot more money to be raised,” he said.

“There is a lot of days where you’re feeling the darkness and really sad,” Stephanie Holbrook said. “And everybody who checks in on you, from friends, family, coworkers to these teams that you’re partnered with that really care about your son. It really lifts you up. It really gives you hope.”

One of the cyclists, Nick Aswad, says he knows what the kids are going through.

Aswad was a Pedal Partner himself after he was diagnosed with a brain tumor at just 9-years-old.

“It is kind of crazy to think that I would be supporting another family still, 11 years later,” Aswad said.

Surgery and chemo were enough to get rid of the cancer and now that he is healthy, he says he is happy to be supporting little William and his family.

“Getting to see him have a fun day here is really great to see,” Aswad said.

William’s father Jake Holbrook says they are so grateful to all involved in the PMC and they will be there at the finish line on August 4th to cheer them on.

They have raised a lot of money and we have benefitted first hand from the work that they do,” Jake Holbrook said. “William was diagnosed last year and as of August William is in remission.”

 

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