The 2009 Pan-Massachusetts Challenge
Home | About Us | Community Service | At Home | The 2009 Pan-Massachusetts Challenge
The 2009 Pan-Massachusetts Challenge

OAT participants reflect on a great ride for an even greater cause

In August of 2009, six OAT associates—including Alan and Harriet Lewis—participated in the 30th annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge to benefit the Jimmy Fund. Together, they raised more than $10,000 for cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute—which was matched by Grand Circle Foundation for a grand total of more than $20,000. Here, four of our riders share their thoughts on the ride.

Brian Gannon

With OAT since: 2003Chris Gannon
Title: Database Reporting Analyst
About Brian: I used to live in Mexico City and backpacked through Central America and Mexico
for almost a year. I lived with a Guatemalan family in Antigua, and I actually think my roots are from Latin America—it's in my blood. Maybe my Irish ancestors are actually Mayan and came from Guatemala or El-Salvador before they got to Ireland? Last year I spent my sabbatical riding the rails on an Amtrak pass for 30 days, crisscrossing the country all by train.

Brian's ride: Each year the PMC is the highlight of the summer, two days of people helping people. From Sturbridge to Bourne the streets are full of people thanking each rider for their commitment to the cause. After pinning yellow ribbons and an iron-on picture of my friend Paul (who is battling cancer) and me on the back of my riding jersey, I headed to the 5:30 am start where all 2,000 cyclists began pedaling for the coast, two days of riding. The best thanks I got was from a woman in Apponequet who was 100 years old and was standing out in the hot sun to greet riders. She was holding a sign that read, "Because of you, I am alive, thank you riders,
thank you Dana Farber, thank you! Thank you! Thank you!"

Charlotte Lewis

With OAT since: I've been with OAT since I was born! But officially I've worked here since 2008. Charlotte Lewis
Title: Marketing Director
About Charlotte: I love challenging myself and taking risks—especially physical ones, like sky-diving, doing a triathlon, or going bungee jumping.

Charlotte's ride: I loved the supporters. It's a very positive event. The weather was perfect. I loved riding with my dad and mum and best friend. Dad and I missed riding with Uncle Steve and Bob, but we still had great conversations. Lots of food along the way—I don't think I've ever craved peanut butter and banana sandwiches so much. It was very inspiring to learn of individuals riding on behalf of so many who survived or succumbed to cancer. I noticed that it was mostly men who rode, so next year I hope more women will take on the challenge of fundraising and riding. Next year I'll be riding the whole way from Sturbridge to Bourne and I'm actually going to train! My mum was a trooper. I don't know what she was so nervous about! She did fantastic.
She cruised right past me and my achy back. Wow!

Chris Zigmont

With OAT since: 2005Chris Ziga
Title: Senior Vice President, Controller
About Chris: I'm a cycling enthusiast who rides with my wife, Katherine, who I met 28 years ago on a subway train in New York City.

Chris's ride: As a second-year rider, this year I felt like a true veteran. I knew what to expect
and in the form that I have come to know it, the Pan-Mass Challenge delivered on its end of our relationship. The cause is right, my fellow riders are inspirational, the volunteers are great, and the people on the side of the road remind you what it is all about. From the moment we left Sturbridge (at 5:30 am), there were people on the side of the road saying, "thank you." I can't tell you how touching it is when a person you don't even know looks at you and says, "Thank you for your effort." I was thinking to myself, "It is me who should be the one doing the thanking for the support they are providing." Like last year, my ride was great! It again confirmed for me that I
will be doing this for as long as I am able to ride (and I plan on being able to ride until I am old and gray)!

Tom Whearty

With OAT since: 2000
Title: Director, Business Solutions
About Tom: I'm the father of five, and I enjoy turning pens, bowls, and ornaments on my lathe.

Tom's ride: The Pan-Mass Challenge ride was cool. Preparing that morning was a little emotional. The support from folks along the way was nice. However, the support from my wife and children and the backing from the organization [OAT] was great! The response from associates when I told told them why I was riding, the stories that people shared, the generosity, and often the apology that it couldn't be more! That is what I'll always carry with me.