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PMC '09 Recap

by John Bishop / Boston Bruins
BOSTON, MA -- "I feel pretty good right now," said former Boston Bruins forward, turned Bruins Foundation Director of Development, Bob "Swoop" Sweeney after he crossed the Pan-Mass Challenge finish line on Sunday. "I'm happy with [the ride] and I think this was probably my best one."

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Sweeney should be happy. He and his Boston Bruins Bike Team teammates have already raised over $100,000 thanks to pledges and money raised at the annual harbor cruise and Bruins Ice and Dice night.

And across the state, riders and their teams are making the PMC a study in success. According to, the Pan-Mass Challenge, an annual bike-a-thon, raises more money for charity than any other single event in the country. In 2008, the PMC raised $35 million and since 1980 it has raised nearly $240 million for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Moreover, the PMC donated 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar directly to the cause. And it’s that cause that makes this event so important to riders and spectators.

"You see people on the sidelines, cheering 'the reason I'm alive is...people like you.' And you're pedaling up a hill and you see a kid with a sign like that it kind of puts everythign in perspective," said Sweeney. "So you buckle down and keep powering through."

The Pan-Mass Challenge brings thousands of people together and not all of them are riders. But each person is integral to the ride.

"Kudos to the two thousand volunteers that make this ride possible," said Sweeney. "They're all so special.

"Without them this ride wouldn't be successful."

And for the 22 members of the Bruins Bike Team the PMC has become a touchstone event.

"It's a good group...that we have doing this ride," said Sweeney. "We have elite riders like Don [Sweeney, former B’s derenseman and current Director of Hockey Operations & Player Development] -- mad men as I call them -- that go crazy. They are great riders, so I think we are lucky because we have a great balance.

"We have top, top end riders and we have a good mix of second tier riders and guys like myself in the middle of the pack.

""When you put on the Bruins shirt to ride everybody is equal and we all feel the same way, so that's good."

Asked about the ride itself and which part of the course was the most difficult, Bob echoed his teammates and pointed to the end of the trail -- the final stretch coming into Provincetown.

"The hardest part is coming through Truro on Route 6a, because it is so windy," said Sweeney.

But not so hard as to deter any of the riders from helping fight cancer.

"I think the end result is what you're riding for," said Sweeney. "You're riding for Dana Farber and when you see kids [with cancer] when you go to the snaps you right back into reality why you are doing this."

With another successful ride in the books, Sweeney sees the B's contribution to the cause getting bigger in the future.

"I hope to get some more riders," said Sweeney. "As far as our raising more money [on behalf of] the Bruins foundation for Dana Farber I think we can increase out team to have a manageable amount of people so we can all raise more money."

And you can help raise some more money for the fight against cancer, here.
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