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Talk about pedaling with purpose!

The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC), a two-day charity bicycle ride across the Bay State, has been at the forefront of raising an incredible $1 billion for the fight against cancer since its inception in 1980.

The 2022 PMC hits the streets this weekend (August 6-7), with thousands of enthusiastic cyclists riding through cities, across country roads and past the Cape Cod National Seashore to raise money for the Jimmy Fund at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Organizers hope to raise and donate $66 million this weekend alone.

PMC has donated $831 million to Dana-Farber since its founding 42 years ago. Organizers expect donations to top $1 billion by 2024.

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PMC is a tribute to the power of the human spirit to take pain and turn it into progress.

The program was started in 1980 by Billy Starr, an entrepreneur from Newton, Mass., just west of Boston.

After watching three relatives, including his mother, succumb to cancer in the 1970s, he walked the Commonwealth with 35 friends.

Billy Starr is a young man searching for purpose in life when he loses his mother, Betty, and two other relatives to cancer.  He was inspired to create the Pan-Mass Challenge in 1980.

Billy Starr is a young man searching for purpose in life when he loses his mother, Betty, and two other relatives to cancer. He was inspired to create the Pan-Mass Challenge in 1980.
(Bill Starr/Pan-Massachusetts Challenge)

Betty Starr is only 49 years old.

“PMC is not a career plan,” Starr told Fox News Digital. “But it was something I had to do. I saw an opportunity to do something good. It gave me a light.”

Thousands of other cyclists are also lit up by the event each year.

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Many describe the charity ride as a spiritual experience: two days criss-crossing the New England countryside in the summer sun, sometimes in pain or on the verge of passing out, often united with thousands of others only by the clatter of bicycle gears. In general purpose.

“PMC is the largest contributor to the Dana-Farber and Jimmy Funds and is responsible for 55 percent of the Jimmy Fund’s annual revenue,” PMC announced on its website.

Taunton resident Doug Ross, left, flagged down cyclists as they rode down Center Street in Dighton, Mass., as part of the 33rd Pan-Massachusetts Challenge in 2012.

Taunton resident Doug Ross, left, flagged down cyclists as they rode down Center Street in Dighton, Mass., as part of the 33rd Pan-Massachusetts Challenge in 2012.
(Wendy Maeda/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

Every rider dollar raised goes to Dana-Farber. The entire operational budget of the event is funded by corporate largesse.

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The ride’s signature 212-mile route is a two-day ride from the hills of Sturbridge in central Mass. to the sand dunes of Provincetown at the far end of Cape Cod.

PMC is supported by thousands of volunteers who do everything from making sandwiches at water stops to loading rider luggage onto trucks bound for Provincetown.

In Wellesley, Mass., 5,500 cyclists from 36 states attended the official Wellesley launch of the 33rd annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge at Babson College on August 4, 2012.

In Wellesley, Mass., 5,500 cyclists from 36 states attended the official Wellesley launch of the 33rd annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge at Babson College on August 4, 2012.
(Paul Marotta/Getty Images)

Countless thousands of Massachusetts residents and visitors lined the road to cheer on the riders on the main route and on PMC’s many secondary routes.

Starr and his team of 36 pedal partners raised just over $10,000 in 1980.

But the original riders felt they had done something special. Many of those cyclists return each year.

Billy Starr, center, has ridden in every ride since the Pan-Mass Challenge was founded in 1980.  He was spotted here with fellow riders at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne, Mass., where the riders spent the night before pedaling across Cape Cod on Sunday.  Complete the two-day challenge.

Billy Starr, center, has ridden in every ride since the Pan-Mass Challenge was founded in 1980. He was spotted here with fellow riders at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in Bourne, Mass., where the riders spent the night before pedaling across Cape Cod on Sunday. Complete the two-day challenge.
(Pan-Massachusetts Challenge)

“Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong that year,” Starr said. “But everyone thought it was the greatest thing since sliced ​​bread.”

The ride has grown since Starr has been demanding more and more from fundraisers and corporate sponsors each year.

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Today, the average two-day rider raises $9,700, almost as much as the first ride, the entrepreneur said.

“There’s some sort of magnetism to the ride. I don’t know what it is,” Barry Craft, who has pedaled across the state in the PMC with Starr every year since its inception in 1980, told Fox News Digital.

“You’re helping people in need and there are people cheering you on the whole way.”

“You’re doing an incredible challenge. You’re helping people in need and you’ve got people cheering you on the whole way. People feel great about that.”

“You get to Provincetown, finish the ride and think, ‘Wow. This is amazing!’

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“Our hope and aspiration is to provide Dana-Farber’s physicians and researchers with the resources they need to find cancer cures,” PMC says on its website.