A volunteer holds back the anxious riders at the starting line. Photos by James Kinneen
By James Kinneen
Hometown Weekly Reporter
On Sunday, the kids of Westwood, along with a few adult volunteers that made sure they didn’t go astray, hopped on their bicycles to take part in the PMC Kids Ride, a fundraiser and bike ride designed to let kids take part in the Pan-Mass Challenge.Beginning at the Martha Jones School, children had their choice of completing the one-mile Alisa’s Ride, the five mile Five for Fighting Ride, or the ten-mile Westwood Strong ride, depending on their age and ability. Amazingly, the ride, which saw a huge range of kids on all kinds of mountain bikes, BMX bikes, bikes with training wheels and even one young man on a scooter, was crash-free - despite a bunched starting line.
And while there were many fast bike riders who wanted to know if they won (it wasn’t really a race, so there were no winners) and kids who flourished their trip across the finish line with some no-handed riding or the occasional wheelie, the most impressive participant was Daniel Kelleher.Kelleher’s appearance at the event came only months after finishing treatment for acute lymphocytic leukemia. This year’s ride was dedicated to him, and according to event coordinator Sara Mirson, will raise around $50,000 for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. 100 percent of every dollar raised will go to charity, she explained.
“We have an awesome group of coordinators, volunteers and parents that get their kids signed up to ride every year,” said Mirson. “The community is amazing. They all rally behind this event every year. We have over 300 riders and anticipate raising around 50 thousand dollars from this one event from all the kids that participate.”But it wasn’t just a ride around the block that participants got to take part in. Before the ride, there was face painting, free frozen yogurt pops, face painting, temporary tattoos, a football tossing game and music for the kids to enjoy while they waited. After the ride, a raffle was held for families that had donated above a certain threshold of money.
Daniel Kelleher both picked the winning tickets, as well as won his own prize: a pair of Patriots tickets he can enjoy when football season comes back around.
The Westwood community came together to raise a ton of money for a great cause on Sunday, flooding the streets with kids on bicycles - and flooding the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with money for cancer research.