Bay State Physical Therapy & the Pan-Mass Challenge: Finding My Stride

By: Erin Doherty, Marketing Manager

Three years ago, during my first year at Bay State Physical Therapy, our Leadership team discussed how our company could become more involved in a philanthropic cause that aligned with our mission and vision. After a few ideas were circulated, I began researching the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC). Noticing that their initiatives corresponded with our core values and brand purpose, I reached out to see if they would be interested in a partnership.

We’re now in our third consecutive year as the Official Physical Therapy Sponsor of the Pan-Mass Challenge, and each year has brought new and exciting experiences.

2018 

During our first year as a sponsor, I worked alongside PMC’s Director of Marketing and Sponsorship and their Medical Director to determine how we could best serve the riders who are dedicating their time and efforts to raise money for such a great cause. Bay State had 22 physical therapist volunteers at 9 water stops along the route, all providing stretching and soft tissue massages to help riders complete the 192-mile journey to the finish line.

I, along with other members of the marketing team, participated in morale-boosting expos on the Friday night leading into the weekend. I had the pleasure of participating in the Sturbridge expo, and fully experienced the invigorating atmosphere of a community dedicated to finding a cure for cancer.

2019 

Bay State Physical Therapy entered its second year with renewed passion and motivation to support the PMC. In June, I attended PMC Night at Fenway for the Boston Red Sox. I was able to join many other riders and volunteers on the outfield before the start of the game, while Living Proof circled the warning track as a symbol of strength. Reminiscing on this moment still gives me chills. After the Living Proof ceremony, our PMC group stepped onto the field to catch the flag after the national anthem—standing in solidarity with the entire PMC community.

I was also able to coordinate an even larger volunteer presence during PMC weekend. Bay State Physical Therapy had 28 volunteers at 11 different water stops in 2019. I attended the opening expo at Babson College in Wellesley, where I heard countless stories from riders expressing their gratitude for our physical therapists along the route in the previous year, and how much they were looking forward to seeing our staff along the route once again.

After my amazing experiences participating in two PMC weekends, I decided to join our Bay State Physical Therapy riding team for PMC 2020.

By the time I signed up, I didn’t own a bike, I had no experience on a road-bike frame, and I was terrified of riding on busy roads. Feeling unprepared, I was a bit nervous to commit to the two-day cycle. However, the electric atmosphere and undeniable motivation that I witnessed from the riders and volunteers over the previous two PMC weekends was intoxicating, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that community. So, I made the leap, I took the chance, and I dedicated the next few months to training for the ride of my life.

2020 

As Bay State Physical Therapy’s partnership evolved, so did my participation.

In January, we participated in the PMC Winter Cycle for the first time. This event was an additional fundraising campaign that brought together 1,000 people of various athletic ability to participate in stationary spin classes—igniting the positive energy needed to mentally and emotionally fight cancer. Bay State Physical Therapy provided stretching services and soft tissue massages to help participants feel their best during the event.

Due to COVID-19, the PMC weekend is looking a bit different this year. In order to keep participants and volunteers safe, PMC 2020 isn’t taking its traditional form. However, the organization has done an amazing job redesigning the event to continue the commitment and excitement, and fulfill their mission to raise life-saving funds for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

When hearing the 2020 plans of #pmcreimagined, our Bay State Physical Therapy Riding Team adapted to the change, and decided to participate by riding 100 miles around the South Shore.

Once our team began training back in May—riding through beautiful towns and working collaboratively to push our physical limits—I was hooked. The comradery spurred from our team rides was unlike anything I’ve ever felt before. And, knowing that each mile contributed to my own efforts to support Dana-Farber was invigorating. We also had the opportunity to be paired with our Pedal Partner, Carly. When our legs fatigue and our breath falls short during rides, Carly’s strength while fighting cancer fuels our hearts to make it one more mile.

I am extremely excited for August 1, when our team will set out to complete 100 miles to help make a difference in the lives of those fighting cancer.