Four Barrington friends have banded together and will ride in The Pan-Mass Challenge, a fund-raiser for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, this weekend.
For the ’Fraid Knots team, the cause hits close to home as they have all been touched by the harsh reality of childhood cancer — some more than others — but all feel it is important to participate and help those in need. The men will ride their bikes from Sturbridge, Mass. to Provincetown — a 192-mile, two-day trip.
One rider in ’Fraid Knots, Dave Cambria, a gaffer for the lighting company Equinox, is the driving force behind the team. He has been riding in the challenge since 2005.
“My co-worker Bernie Karol had a 9-year old daughter who had been in a difficult struggle with a rare blood cancer. Bernie was part of our crew on many projects. While Charlotte was in treatment, we were all working on the TV series ‘Brotherhood’ in Rhode Island.
“As time went on, Charlotte was responding exceptionally well to treatment, and Bernie was back working with us. He had already done one PMC, and started ‘recruiting’ some of us, most of which had never ridden a road bike. My business partner pulled me aside one winter day and said, ‘We should do the Pan Mass with Bernie. Let’s all get bikes, we will form Team Red Herring (the name of our lighting company), and hit up all these actors, producers and film people we work with and raise a ton of money.’
“The next thing I knew I was at East Providence Cycle purchasing my first road bike,” Mr. Cambria said.
“I remember how hard it was for Bernie and his family. Charlotte was in a fight for her life at Dana-Farber for what seemed like forever. He would have to take a lot of time off, and when I saw him, I was always afraid to ask how she was doing, in fear that he would say she wasn’t doing well.”
The team rode for three years and the experience was one that became addictive, he said.
“You get drawn to the cause, to the energy of over 5,000 cyclists all focused on one goal, and the seriousness of the commitment you have to make to hit the minimum each year. That first ride in 2007 was profound for me. We had just had our son Andrew, and the challenge of training and fund-raising while working 80 hours a week was exhausting and overwhelming. By the time I hit the lunch stop on the first day of my first ride and saw the huge posters of smiling faces of kids in treatment at Dana-Farber they put out to greet the riders, I was weeping. You can’t contain the emotion, that’s how strong this event is. I think it happens to every rider somewhere along the way the first time you do it. When you finish that ride the second day in Provincetown, the first thing you think of is — ‘I want to do this again,’” he said.
Over the years, Mr. Cambria began riding with his fellow Country Club Plat residents, but he hadn’t yet recruited them to ride in the PMC.
“I used to try to convince them to do a PMC some year, but didn’t really push too hard. Understand, you have to raise a minimum of $4,300, or they put it right on your credit card. That’s a big commitment,” he said.
Then a few years ago, a neighbor’s son was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Garrett Ames’ son Charlie was sick and the guys in the plat rallied together for their friends.
“When Charlie got sick, it wasn’t about the money. Garrett approached me at a Super Bowl Party in the neighborhood and said, ‘Dave, I want to do the PMC. I want to do something for Charlie. He’s been so great through all this. I want to do something out of my comfort zone.’”
Charlie, now 11 years old, was recently given a clean bill of health. The ’Fraid Knots team last year consisted of Mr. Cambria, Mr. Ames and their friends, Mark Hoder, Chip Wilkerson, Ed Smith and Keith McMannus. This year’s team includes Mr. Cambria, Mr. Ames, Mark Stephens and Tim Harrell.
The team held a fund-raiser on July 18 and raised more than $5,000 for Dana-Farber but will continue to take donations.
To help support the ’Fraid Knots, go to their team page at: http://www2.pmc.org/profile/TF0132
— By Joan D. Warren