The Hippo


Nov 13, 2019








Courtesy photo.

1st annual Greater Manchester Pan-Mass Challenge Kids Ride

When: Sunday, June 4, 9 a.m. to noon
Where: St. Anselm College, 100 St. Anselm Drive, Manchester
Cost: $25 minimum fundraising registration

Riding for a cause
Pan-Mass Challenge Kids Ride rolls into Manchester

By Matt Ingersoll

 Emma Bechert of Bedford was an active community member through church and Girl Scouts and was often seen in productions at the Palace Theatre, even as she battled brain cancer for most of her life. She also helped lead Team Emma’s Enchantment, which raised more than $1 million for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, by cycling in the Pan-Mass Challenge.

On Aug. 21, 2016, Emma died at the age of 14. Her memory will be honored at the first annual Greater Manchester Pan-Mass Challenge Kids Ride on the campus of St. Anselm College on Sunday, June 4, from 9 a.m. to noon.
Kids ages 3 to 13 can carry on Emma’s legacy by being part of the cancer research fundraising efforts for Dana-Farber  and The Jimmy Fund while enjoying bike-riding, face-painting, food and more.
“The entire ride is going to be held on the campus and there are two routes,” said event director Terry Flahive. “One is a half-mile loop for older kids and the other is a smaller inner loop better suited for kids on tricycles and with training wheels. … There is no real set distance, but kids can do the routes as many times around as they would like to.”
Several activities are also planned for the kids during the ride, Flahive said, like helmet and bike decorating, music, games and contests.
“It’s all self-contained [at the college], so the kids will be riding their bikes around the quad on campus, and there’s a grass area around it where all the games and other activities will take place,” he said.
After the rides there will be raffle drawings to win prizes like Boston Red Sox game tickets, a round of golf for four at Manchester Country Club in Bedford, a necklace and earrings from Day’s Jewelers in Manchester, and several other raffle baskets and assorted items.
The event is one of more than 35 of its kind held across New England as a way for kids to contribute alongside the fundraising of the annual Pan-Mass Challenge. Now in its 37th year, the bike-athon is held at several locations in Massachusetts and has become The Jimmy Fund’s largest single fundraiser for cancer research and treatment, generating more than 50 percent of its annual revenue.
Flahive said two other rides are held in New Hampshire — in Exeter, also on June 4, and in Pelham on Sept. 9 — but he added the new Manchester ride is expected to be the largest yet in the Granite State.
“Billy Starr, who started the Pan-Mass Challenge in 1980, ultimately decided that it would be important for kids to understand the importance of health and philanthropy and giving back, so he launched the first Kids Ride in 2005,” Flahive said.
The idea to have a Kids Ride in Manchester started when Joel Collins, whose mother was being treated at Dana-Farber at the time, rode in the Pelham Kids Ride last year.
“I actually know his parents very well, and he was very enthusiastic about doing a ride in Manchester, so that’s sort of how we kicked it off,” Flahive said. “We were fortunate that we found a great place for it at St. Anselm.”
Riders can register online; there is a minimum registration of $25, but Flahive said kids will have until Sept. 1 to meet that fundraising goal with help from their friends and family. All proceeds go to The Jimmy Fund, which has received more than $7.2 million collectively from the Kids Rides alone since their inception in 2005.
Flahive said parents and teens over the age of 13 are welcome to volunteer to participate in setting up or breaking down the event, or to even serve as route monitors during the rides. 

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