By Michael Coughlin Jr.
After a successful launch in the neighborhood last year, the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) Kids Ride is returning to Charlestown on Sunday, Jun. 4, from 9:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. at Paul Revere Park to raise money for cancer research and treatment which will go to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
The Kids Rides are part of the overarching yearly PMC fundraising campaign – which is headlined by the adult version of the bike-a-thon that is usually in August. The PMC has raised $900 million for Dana-Farber since 1980.
These Kids Rides allow youth throughout the state to help raise money for cancer research and treatment. Around 20 PMC Kids Rides are scheduled for this year, and the kids of Charlestown will have their own ride.
The youth of Charlestown will get to help raise money to finally put an end to cancer for the second straight year, in large part due to the contributions of Rebecca Shortle, Senior Associate Director, Jimmy Fund.
Over the last several years, the PMC lacked a Kids Ride in Boston and was looking to fill that void – enter Shortle.
Shortle has worked at Dana-Farber since she graduated college in 2009 and, in her current role, works closely with the PMC. She is also a resident of Charlestown and has been since 2019, so when the PMC was looking to expand its Kids Rides to Boston, Shortle knew just the place for it.
“Charlestown is just such a supportive community … and there are a lot of young families who stay in town and a lot of young families who have kids in the elementary schools here – it’s a really strong community, so it felt like it [the Kids Ride] would really bring something to our community as well to give these kids a way to fundraise,” said Shortle.
Last year, Shortle volunteered to be the coordinator of the Kids Ride in Charlestown to the tune of tremendous success.
Just last year, in the first-ever installment of a PMC Kids Ride in the neighborhood, 69 riders raised over $18,000 – 100% of which went to Dana-Farber for cancer research.
Although the money raised for Dana-Farber through last year’s Charlestown Kids Race was important to Shortle, another extremely special aspect for her was the participation from her two children – Charlie, age four, and Nell, age two.
“They’re still so little, so it’s hard to explain a lot of this, but they can understand hopping on a bike and people cheering them on and the idea that we’re going to raise money and give it to people who need help – so that has been really, really special for me,” said Shortle.
While last year’s ride was a hit, Shortle has her eyes set on some bigger goals for June’s rendition of the Kids Ride. Shortle said she would love to get closer to 100 kids riding around the quarter-mile loop at Paul Revere Park to raise money to fight cancer.
Currently, there are over 30 participants signed up already – which Shortle said she thought is probably more than they had registered at this time last year. For those interested in signing up, the required fundraising commitment is $40.
Moreover, the recommended age for participants is between two and eight years old; however, Shortle mentioned: “any kids can participate.” It should be noted that the general age range for PMC Kids Rides is two to 15 years old.
Shortle urged those who are interested to come on out to the ride in June and support a good cause, saying, “It’s a ton of fun; we’re going to have a face painter, we’re going to have a local radio station there.”
“We have snacks; the kids get a water bottle, a hat, and a t-shirt, so lots of fun stuff – we’ll have lots of fun prizes for fundraising.”
For more information and to sign up for the Kids Ride, visit https://kids.pmc.org/charlestown.