Wiltonians will ride to fight cancer

Wilton residents Bruce Likly, Brian Lynch, Tom Schneider and Jeff Thompson will join more than 6,300 cyclists in raising money for cancer research and treatment during the 2018 Pan-Mass Challenge in Massachusetts, Aug. 4-5.

For the annual bike-a-thon, which raises money to support the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, cyclists ranging in age from 13 to 85 choose from 12 routes of varying mileage that run through 46 towns. There are six two-day routes that range from 132 to 192 miles and six one-day rides, ranging from 25 to 110 miles.

It will not be the first time the four Wiltonians have participated in the challenge. This year will be the fifth for Likly, Schneider and Lynch and Thompson’s third. All four have signed up to ride for two days.

Thompson said he’s “inspired to ride” in the Pan-Mass Challenge “in the hopes that the Dana-Farber research team will continue to develop more and better ways to fight and eventually beat cancer.”

“I was initially inspired by my friend, John, who, with the help of Dana-Farber, fought stage IV stomach cancer into remission for a year,” said Thompson. Unfortunately, Thompson said, his friend lost his battle with cancer and left behind a “wonderful wife,” who also rides in the Pan-Mass Challenge.

“Sadly, we are all touched by cancer,” he said. “This is my way of fighting back.”

Schneider said he’s looking forward to “every aspect” of this year’s Pan-Mass Challenge, including “the challenge of the ride,” the camaraderie, and the “energy and enthusiasm” of being around “so many people” dedicated to the same cause.

Schneider said he also looks forward to raising money for cancer research, and tries to exceed his fund-raising goal each year.

“I raised $10,000 last year and I’m shooting for $12,000 this year,” he said.

Lynch, who will be joined by his younger brother, Tom, in this year’s Pan-Mass, started participating after his sister, Kiki, lost her 22-year battle against cancer.

“The loss of a loved one is tough,” Lynch wrote on his Pan-Mass page. “However, like the fighter my sister was, I have decided to fight back the only way I know how — fund those that can find a cure.”

The Pan-Mass Challenge has raised $598 million for Dana-Farber since 1980, and this year’s fund-raising goal is $52 million.

As of July 31, Likly had raised $900 of his $7,500 goal, Lynch had raised $5,800 of his $10,000 goal, Schneider had raised $7,770 of his $10,000 goal, and Thompson had raised $5,089 of his $8,000 goal.

For more information or to make a financial contribution to a rider, visit pmc.org.