Stephen Ciesinski expected the 2013 Pan-Mass Challenge – an annual bike ride across Massachusetts to raise money for cancer research – to be his last. But the Los Altos Hills resident returned this year to honor good friend and longtime ride participant Steve Bauer, who died last fall.
“I agreed to ride the Pan-Mass Challenge one more time,” said Ciesinski, who last month pedaled 85 miles, from Wellesley to Bourne. “I actually rode Bauer’s bike alongside his friends and four other friends.”
Ciesinski first participated in the Pan-Mass Challenge with Bauer in 2007 and kept coming back. Bauer, who lived in Concord, Mass., took part in the ride 25 times and raised more than $100,000 for cancer research.
The Pan-Mass Challenge, which began in 1980, raises money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. More than 6,000 cyclists from approximately 40 states and eight countries – ranging in age from 15 to 84 – took part in this year’s event.
They raised more than $42 million, according to the event’s website, which also states that the annual ride “raises more for charity than any other athletic event in the country.”
Several of the cyclists were cancer survivors. Others, like Ciesinski, participated to honor a family member or a friend. Ciesinski and Bauer became friends at Union College in Schenectady, N.Y., where they played football together in the late 1960s. Bauer’s wife, Ann, also took part in the bike-a-thon, which offers one- and two-day routes through the state.
To donate and for more information on the Pan-Mass Challenge, visit pmc.org.