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Cruising for a Cause

by Joe Gallagher / Boston Bruins

BOSTON, MA - Bruins fans and alumni boarded the M/V Provincetown II on a pleasant summer evening Wednesday night for the sixth annual Boston Bruins Harbor Cruise, hosted by the Boston Bruins Foundation and Bay State Cruise Lines.

Photo Gallery: 2012 Boston Bruins Harbor Cruise

Guests lined the World Trade Center Pier to set sail for a night out on the Harbor, with all proceeds benefiting the Bruins Foundation’s bike team for the Pan-Mass Challenge in early August, which raises money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Bob Sweeney, Executive Director of the Boston Bruins Foundation, explained what keeps more than 700 attendees coming back on the Cruise year after year.

“It benefits the Dana-Farber for kids who have cancer - which, everybody can relate to helping out kids,” Sweeney said. “We have 40 riders which is a great testament to our fans and people who want to support us in the Pan-Mass Challenge.”

For Sweeney, it’s easy to see why the event keeps growing.

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

Those words rang especially true for one of the riders on the Harbor Cruise, Shawn Mullen, who alone raised $20,000 for the Pan-Mass Challenge.

"Everybody knows somebody affected by the disease, that’s what makes it easy to keep fighting and training and riding the bike," said Mullen.

With arm spans of raffle tickets being distributed for the chance to win memorabilia, fans were also motivated with the knowledge that all proceeds were going towards a great cause.

“Why do you think I bought the tickets?” Keith from Manchester, NH said of the event's benefactor. “I also bought raffle tickets, I’m ready to buy more raffle tickets.”

With the sun setting and the Boston skyline glowing in the backdrop, Sweeney stepped on stage at the ship’s upper-deck and turned the dance floor into a live auction – one of the parts of the night he said he looked forward to the most.

Fans bid on items such as a picture autographed by Brad Marchand and Tyler Seguin, along with future tickets to Bruins games. The crowd cheered on as patrons got into "bidding wars," knowing each raise in the price meant more money towards the cause.

Former B’s defenseman and Pan-Mass participant, Frank Simonetti, was happy to see such a large turnout.

“Hopefully this year will put us over the one-million [dollar] mark raised for Dana Farber Cancer Institute,” he said.

The scenic night on the water was laced with the annual live performance from Jim Plunkett, whom former Bruin Lyndon Byer’s praised highly.

“Jim Plunkett is one of the greatest entertainers of all time,” Byers said.

Byers joined Plunkett on stage for classics such as Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'” and “Footloose” by Kenny Loggins.

An impromptu “Let’s Go Bruins!” chant rose from the crowd as the ship pulled back into the Harbor, marking another successful bout in the fight against cancer.
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