October 2 2019

Burlington PMC Kids Ride Cruises to Big Success

By: Tad Stephanak

A large number of children jumped on bikes for a good cause this past weekend. 

The Pan-Mass Challenge is an effort by bicycle riders, volunteers, sponsors and donors who support the mission of raising money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. 

Burlington residents Christine Steiner and her husband Jason spearheaded PMC’s charge of raising funds by organizing a Burlington PMC Kids Ride that took place Sunday, September 29 in The District.  

Jason was inspired to ride the PMC in 2017 for their youngest of four children who was diagnosed with leukemia at 2 years old. Christine said they had such an amazing weekend at the event they wanted to get more involved with the organization. Her kids really wanted to ride but not being of age they signed them up for one of the PMC Kids Rides and from that effort decided to have a PMC Kids Ride in Burlington.  

On putting together the bike riding event for kids 2-15 Steiner simply said, “It was a process.”

Steiner lauded working with PMC Kids Rides Coordinator Justine Darmanian.

“She was awesome, she was such a huge help,” Steiner said. 

Steiner had never run a fundraiser before and with her husband went to other town’s PMC Kids Rides and got ideas for how they ran. 

“Our biggest thing was trying to find a location,” she said. “Other towns have the ride where the kids were actually on the streets, and I didn’t want to do that. I figured I’d be too worried having kids out on the streets. We thought of The District.” 

Working with Allan Luciw, Property Manager at National Development, Steiner secured a location for the event at The District.

 “They were amazing, they were so helpful and they were glad to come on board,” she said. “They said ‘anything you guys need we’re happy to have the ride here.’”

Steiner talked about the planning process for the Burlington’s PMC Kids Ride.

“We made of list of things we thought the kids would be interested and a list of things that we’d need to do to raise the most amount of money,” she said. “And then we just made it happen.” 

Steiner also reached out to the Burlington elementary school gym teachers.

“The gym teachers in town were so instrumental,” noted Steiner. 

Each elementary school had a team and to help get students signed up Steiner incentivized the kids by sending a memo out the schools saying whichever school had the most kids sign up would have $500 donated for new gym equipment. Gym teachers sent notes home and talked to the kids about it.  

“They explained that we do have some young kids in town with cancer and they explained what they’d be raising money for,” she said. “So that was huge.” 

Steiner also noted the use of Facebook and Instagram in their efforts.

“One thing that worked really well for us was social media,” she said. “Constantly posting and really just trying to get the word out there. And the Burlington social media pages were a big help for us.” 

Five teams from the Burlington elementary schools and middle school along with other teams created by family and friends of those who’ve fought cancer made for a total of 18 teams participating in the Burlington PMC Kids Ride. The day of the event Steiner described as organized chaos with 238 kids registered and a long line that formed for day of walk on riders.

“It was a bigger event than we thought it would be,” Steiner said enthusiastically. “We thought we’d get 75 to 100 kids and we went way over that.” 

250 kids participated and participation was not the only aspect that exceeded expectations. 

“We thought maybe we’d raise around $30,000 and we’re now over $80,000,” Steiner stated. “It was certainly over what we thought it was going to be.”

As of Wednesday morning a post on the group's Facebook page says the Burlington PMC Kids Ride has raised $89,205.13 for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

The event featured three routes, a little tyke route,a 1 mile ride and a 3 mile ride that took place inside The District property. There was no need for road closures and there were no kids on main roads thanks to the availability of The District.

Steiner expressed appreciation for the event sponsors and particularly the two anchor sponsors Dental Bright of Burlington and Accurate Automotive.

“We never would have been able to pull this ride off without them,” Steiner noted.

The Cookie Monstah truck made over 300 freshly baked cookies that morning and had ice cream and cookies for all, particularly the craving hands of the young riders. Also featuring a bouncy house and face painting, Burlington’s PMC Kids Ride worked itself into quite the event.

“It was so amazing how many people turned out to be a part of it,” Steiner said.

Due to the outstanding turnout the line to register was a longer wait than anticipated so for next year’s event Steiner said they are planning to have a pre-registration on the Saturday before so participants can get their t-shirts and gift bags and on Sunday morning everyone can be ready to go.

“Next year we’re hoping to get food there,” she said. “We really want to expand this and make it grow. We hope everyone that was there this year will come again and that even more people will come.”  

Steiner couldn’t say enough about the sponsors and the people involved in making Burlington PMC Kids Ride such a great success.

“We just want to really thank everybody,” she said. “That’s a huge amount of money that we raised and the kids in this town should be so proud of themselves for going out doing the fundraising. It was important for my husband and I to get kids involved and learn at a young age that it’s good to give back. And if they start doing it now then hopefully it will continue throughout their adult lives. I really am so proud of all the kids in this town.” 

For more on the Burlington PMC Kids Ride visit its website and for pictures of the event (like the one above) you can go the Burlington PMC Kids Ride Facebook page.  


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