SHARON, Mass.—Charles River Apparel CEO Barry Lipsett prepares for a long-distance bike ride fundraiser for cancer research, the Pan-Mass Challenge. Founded in 1980, the yearly challenge gathers thousands of riders from around the country each August in Needham, Massachusetts for a variety of one-day and two-day rides. Challenge routes span the greater Boston area, to the Commonwealth’s coastal city of Provincetown.
While Charles River’s corporate culture is no stranger to charitable events and humanitarian efforts, the annual race strikes much closer to home for the CEO. Lipsett’s sister Susan passed away after battling breast cancer slightly more than a decade ago, marking his foray into constant involvement with the challenge. Susan’s doctor, Lipsett explains, was a component in this shift.
“Dr. Eric Winer at the Dana-Farber (Cancer Institute) is very involved in the Pan-Mass Challenge,” Lipsett explains, pointing out that Winer encouraged his sister to ride even while battling the disease.
After Susan’s passing, Lipsett continued to ride in the annual event, occasionally drawing other family members into the fold, including his sister, his brother-in-law, and more recently his niece; Susan’s daughter, who rode in the 2016 challenge.
Proceeds from each year’s event go to cancer research at Dana-Farber, and 2016’s final numbers saw the organization donating $47 million to the institute. For Lipsett and his family’s part, he contends they’ve now raised $100,000.
Right: Lipsett with fellow PMC riders. (Image courtesy Charles River)
While the bike ride is primarily an annual project for Lipsett, he points out that cancer awareness is a prevalent part of Charles Rivers’ charitable endeavors. The company has been a longtime supporter of the Wellness Warriors, an organization of cancer patients and caregivers who participate in yearly summer dragon boat races on the Charles river. The company donated a pink-colored dragon boat to the team for one of their recent races.
As for preparation, Lipsett says he employs a combination of indoor and outdoor training to gear up for the ride. He’s participated in various distances of the challenge, including the two-day trip from the Boston suburb of Wellesley to the tip of Cape Cod. In more recent years, Lipsett says he’s opted for the one-day, 83-mile ride of the series.
A portion of the Pan-Mass challenge route. (Image courtesy PMC/Google Maps)
The 2017 Pan-Mass Challenge takes place Aug. 5–6, with opportunities for riders, volunteers, and sponsors still ongoing.
For more information on Charles River, visit http://www.charlesriverapparel.com/.
For more information on the Pan-Mass Challenge, visit http://www.pmc.org/.