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Pan-Mass Challenge Becomes A Family Tradition For 'Team Bishop'

BOSTON (CBS) -- "Year 10 for me was going to be my last year," Pan-Mass Challenge veteran Scott Bishop thought he was ready to quit. He rode so fast each year, the ride was more like a race. But that 10th year he decided to slow down.

"I just took my time. I stopped at every water stop. I said 'hi' to everybody. And it just became a totally different experience," explained Scott. "And ever since then, I'm going to do this as long as I can."

That was seven years ago.

Now, members of his old cheering section are PMC teammates. "We were little kids and we would make little signs, always get so excited to cheer him on," Scott's daughter, Natalie, told WBZ-TV.

Natalie and her sister, Jessica knew they wanted to ride long before they could clip in. Scott got a bit choked talking about his daughters' decision to join him on the ride, "It was pretty cool. It's an event that means a lot. It's nice to have that meaning get passed on."

Scott and Natalie Bishop talk with WBZ-TV's Lisa Hughes (WBZ-TV)

The first weekend in August marks the 39th annual Pan-Mass Challenge. It's a two-day bike ride across Massachusetts to raise money for cancer treatment and research at Boston's Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

This will be Natalie's fourth PMC. "I've never experienced something where I'm physically exerting myself and so emotional at the same time." Just before the 2016 ride, a family friend, younger than Natalie, was diagnosed with cancer. "It was a moment when I was really emotional," said Natalie, "And my sister and dad calmed me down by saying 'Natalie, this is why we ride.' "

Natalie's grandfather, Scott's dad, was treated at Dana-Farber for prostate cancer. He and Scott's mom will be waiting for them in Bourne. "He loves being there," said Scott. And Natalie added, "they make signs that say 'Go Team Bishop.' It's really cute!"

Natalie and Scott Bishop show off their tiger tails (WBZ-TV)

And Team Bishop is easy to spot: all three wear tiger tails on the top of their bike helmets thanks to Natalie, "My sister and I used to put them on our ski racing helmets. And so we said 'okay. put it on your helmet so we can figure out who you are among the thousands of riders.' "

These "Team Lick Cancer" riders are not shy. Scott makes friends every year at his favorite spot: the start line in Sturbridge. Natalie looks forward to The Cape Cod Sea Camps and all the cheering campers she meets at 'Da Hedge.' "We run along and high-five everyone. It really helps you with that extra push for the end."

The PMC hopes to raise a record $52 million this year. Every rider raised dollars goes directly to Dana-Farber. WBZ is proud to be your official PMC station. We hope you'll join us Friday, August 3rd at 7pm for Opening Ceremonies live from Sturbridge on WBZ. And we'll bring you coverage of the ride straight through PMC weekend.

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