Mother and son plan 192-mile ride
KENT — Kent resident Judi Soule, proud to be 63 years of age, and her 36-year-old son Luke will participate in the 192-mile Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) charity bicycle ride in August. The two-day ride starts in Sturbridge, Mass., on Aug. 6 and ends the following day in Provincetown, Mass., on Cape Cod. More than 5,000 cyclists are expected to participate in the ride, with a goal of raising $34 million. This is the second year Soule and her son will participate. The ride raises money for cancer research at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Mass. The Pan-Mass Challenge website says, “Not one cent of each dollar raised through riders’ sweat and determination was used for administrative and organizational expenses.“The Pan-Mass Challenge is considered among the leanest of fundraising organizations in the nation today.” That’s one of the reasons Soule said she supports the ride and the Dana Farber institute: “The fact that 100 percent of every dollar raised goes directly to cancer research really appeals to me.”Donations are given to the Jimmy Fund, which is the fundraising arm of the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Last year, $30 million was raised through the Pan-Mass Challenge.Soule said she is an avid bicyclist who used to be a runner. “But my knees are not good enough for that anymore, but are OK for bicycling.”Soule’s support for Dana Farber began more than 20 years ago with walk-a-thons when a friend’s son who was in elementary school was treated for cancer at the center. “Thankfully, he is now a healthy adult, but he went through a very rough time as a child,” Soule said.To participate in the Pan-Mass Challenge, entrants must raise a minimum of $4,300. As of July 15, Soule had raised more than $5,000. To get sponsors, Soule and her son each send out letters. They also hosted a sponsorship party at the Kent Community House on July 16. Soule said she is thankful so many of her friends and relatives have supported her efforts year after year.As far as she knows, Soule said she and her son are the only Kent area residents who participate in the Pan-Mass Challenge, but many people in the region support their efforts through their sponsorship pledges.Soule is a beautician who no longer works full-time. She still goes to area nursing homes to do the hair of elderly residents, “Many of the people I take care of in nursing homes were customers of mine 30 years ago when I worked in a salon.” Luke Soule is an arborist, or as his mother says, “a tree climber.”Soule said having Luke participate in the ride with her makes it particularly special.Information on the Pan-Mass Challenge ride for cancer research can be found at www.pmc.org.