Trumbull foursome doing their part

On Aug. 3 and 4, four residents from Trumbull will participate in the 34th annual Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC), the nation’s first charity bike-a-thon that raises more money than any other athletic fundraising event in the country.

Stuart Schwartz, Stephanie Schwartz, Derek Bruner and Jeff Bruner will be among 5,500 cyclists who will ride with the collective goal of raising $38 million to support adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.

PMC riders range in age from 13 to 88. Some are seasoned tri-athletes while others are weekend warriors having trained for this event alone.

To become a virtual rider, or make a financial contribution to a rider from your town, visit or call (800) WE-CYCLE. Checks can be made payable to PMC, 77 Fourth Ave., Needham, Mass. 02494.

Many PMC participants ride in honor of a family member or friend lost to, or being treated for, cancer. All share a passion and desire to one day find a cure for the disease.

Stuart Schwartz is a retired Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC) veteran looking to make a comeback at the 34th annual bike-a-thon this summer.

Schwartz began participating in the event in 2000. An avid cyclist, he also served as the chair for St. Vincent’s Bike Along the Sound. Health issues forced him to the sidelines leading to his now temporary retirement from cycling.

Two hip replacements, back surgery and three occurrences of Lyme disease later, and he is ready to get back on his bicycle to help make a different for people affected by cancer.

He will ride the 190-mile PMC route from Sturbridge to Provincetown, Mass. in honor of his late mother, Cookie, who succumbed to lung cancer three years ago, and Jeffrey Blueweiss, a family friend and mentor who succumbed to cancer last summer. He will also ride as a tribute to Sylvie Poulin, a family friend who is currently being treated for cancer. Stephanie Schwartz, his 19-year-old daughter, will also join him for the ride, and take on her first PMC experience. Together, they hope to raise $9,600 for the cause.

The average PMC cyclist trains for three months, solicits 40 sponsors, and raises more than $6,000.

Doctors ride alongside their patients; grandparents ride with their grandchildren; and others show support from the sidelines in the form of donations and cheers. More than 300 riders are cancer survivors or current patients.

“It’s a powerful and emotional weekend for everyone involved,” said Billy Starr, Pan-Mass Challenge founder and executive director. “From the cyclists, to volunteers, staff and family and friends along the route, the PMC unifies ten thousand people for one weekend to make a difference and raise funds to eradicate cancer.”

During PMC weekend, individual cyclists unite to become one extended family. The camaraderie shared by 5,500 cyclists, more than 3,000 volunteers, and thousands of spectators, is one reason cyclists from 36 states and eight countries return to Massachusetts each August to participate in the PMC.

No other single athletic event raises or contributes more money to charity than the PMC. Since 1980, the PMC has raised $375 million for adult and pediatric cancer research and patient care at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

The PMC gives 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund, a rate of fundraising that is nearly unequaled within the $3 billion athletic fundraising event industry.

In 2012, the PMC raised $37 million, accounting for more than 50 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue. More than 230,000 individual contributions were made to last year’s PMC fundraising campaign.

The PMC is a fully supported bike-a-thon — with food and water stops, mechanical and medical assistance, luggage transportation, and lodging — that runs through 46 towns across Massachusetts.

Cyclists choose from 11 routes of varying mileage designed to cater to all levels of cycling strength and time availability.

There are six two-day routes that range from 153 to 190 miles and five one-day rides that range from 25 to 110 miles.

The PMC is presented by the Red Sox Foundation and the New Balance Foundation.