NEEDHAM – Pan-Mass Challenge president Jarrett Collins will assume a new role starting January 1. The 15-year rider will become the organization's chief executive officer.
"To have the opportunity and the responsibility, really, to continue to lead the PMC into the future is just great," Collins said.
Collins and Pan-Mass Challenge founder and executive director Billy Starr sat down with WBZ-TV for an interview at the PMC offices in Needham.
Starr isn't leaving the organization. He said that he will be focusing on regional and national outreach during the upcoming milestone PMC fundraising year.
In 2024, the PMC is poised to surpass $1 billion in total fundraising. Starr could not be more excited or more proud.
"This is a once-in-a-45-year opportunity," he said.
Starr founded the PMC in 1980, several years after his mother died of melanoma. That first year, Starr and a group of friends raised a little over $10,000.
In 2023, more than 6,000 riders participated in the event, which raised a record $72 million for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
"We know this event is singular," Starr said. "The weekend, the riders, the cause, the 100% pass-through. We want and we can handle more people."
Starr said he and Collins believe that if enough riders register, the PMC can raise $100 million in a year.
Starr expects to spend more time publicly promoting the event and is scheduled to give a TED Talk in January. Starr also leads the PMC Major Gifts campaign and the PMC Legacy Society.
Starr, who hired Collins in 2019, said the incoming CEO is already largely running day-to-day PMC operations in the Needham office.
"It's considerable," Starr explained. "This event—the infrastructure is quite large. You're dealing with 47 towns and 370 miles. That's one part of making for a smart, safe weekend."
Cyclists participate in the PMC every year on the first weekend in August. The longest route is 192 miles; a two-day ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown.
The shortest route, from Wellesley to Patriot Place, is 25 miles. All proceeds — 100% of every rider-raised dollar — goes directly to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Collins said that everyone in the PMC community can be proud of the event's considerable contribution to the fight against cancer.
"Pan-Mass Challenge riders are very largely responsible for the unrestricted giving that Dana-Farber has every year," he said.
Collins said that unrestricted funding gives researchers the resources to develop life-changing treatments and therapies.
"If you look at Dana-Farber in particular, which is the beneficiary of everything the PMC raises, their latest statistics show that over half of all cancer drugs that have been approved by the FDA in the last five years, had significant involvement from Dana-Farber. That's an extraordinary statistic," Collins said.
Raising $1 billion for cancer care and research is also extraordinary. But Starr and Collins agree that reaching that milestone is by no means a "finish line." On the contrary, they say, the goal is to raise the next billion even more quickly.
To that end, the PMC also features the PMC Winter Cycle, an indoor cycling event at Fenway Park and the gravel ride, PMC Unpaved.
Starr, who cites the PMC motto "Closer By the Mile" and the ride itself, sums it up this way.
"We push forward. It would be hubris to suggest that Provincetown is our finish line. It is the opportunity to temporarily exhale and start over again," Starr said.
Registration for the 2024 Pan-Mass Challenge begins in January.
WBZ-TV is a proud media partner of the PMC.
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