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Biking to Fight Cancer

by Renee Anderson / Boston Bruins – The Boston Bruins Foundation Bike Team is participating in the 33rd annual Pan-Mass Challenge this weekend, the bike-a-thon that raises money for cancer research at the Jimmy Fund and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Click here to support the Bruins Bike Team and their fundraising efforts for Dana-Farber.

The weekend-long ride from August 4-5 raises more money for charity than any other event in the country, and is the single largest contributor to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. This year the organizers hope to raise $36 million, and reach a total of over $374 million in their 33 years of service.

The Bruins Team consists of 28 cyclists riding in the bike-a-thon, including former Bruins defenseman Frank Simonetti. Sweeney, who has been involved in the event since the B’s first sent a team in 2006, is looking forward to another year of supporting the fight against cancer.

“The Pan-Mass Challenge is a great event. It benefits the Dana-Farber for kids who have cancer, which everybody can relate to helping out,” Sweeney said while attending the B’s Harbor Cruise fundraiser. “This year we have our biggest team ever… which is a great testament to our fans and people who want to support us.

“Once you’re affected by cancer, you want to give back in some way.”

Simonetti agreed, and said he couldn’t wait to return to the road for his sixth summer.

“I thoroughly enjoy riding for the team and representing the Bruins,” Simonetti stated. “I can’t think of a better group of people to be associated with.

“We’re building a core fundraising vehicle to help Dana-Farber beat cancer.”

While all of the participants are required to raise a minimum donation, one Bruins rider stands out in his fundraising efforts. Methuen native Shawn Mullen admits his best contribution comes from his ability to raise money rather than his cycling skills.

“I do a little bit better fundraising than riding,” Mullen said with a smile. “So far this year I’ve raised almost $20,000.

“I do a spin-a-thon at my gym every year. People get behind the cause and raise money for the PMC. I also do e-mail requests for donations and it’s been great.”

Mullen was first motivated to join the ride four years ago by his friend Tina Vitale who was battling breast cancer.

“When I saw her fight – fighting for her life – it inspired me to get up and do something big,” Mullen said. “So that was my first year and since then I’ve ridden for lots of people who are fighting cancer or cancer survivors.

“Everybody knows somebody affected by the disease,” he added. “That’s what makes it easy to keep fighting and training and riding the bike.”

The B’s team is joined by 5,500 cyclists from 36 states and eight countries, nearly 300 of whom are cancer survivors themselves. The riders chose from 11 possible routes spanning 25 to 193 miles, starting in either scenic Sturbridge or Wellesley and crossing the finish line in Provincetown, Bourne, Sharon or Wellesley.

Follow Boston Bruins coverage throughout the weekend here, as well as on Twitter and Instagram @nhlbruins and with the hashtag #PMC2012.

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