Foxborough Resident Rides PMC in Honor of Maddie, Others Taken by Cancer
Foxborough resident Beth Hill will be riding in her third Pan-Mass Challenge event this August and shares her story for inspiration as she pedals for pediatrics in an effort to help children battling cancer.
In 2006, Foxborough resident Beth Hill received an e-mail from a friend asking for prayers because her then eight-year-old daughter, Maddie, had been diagnosed with cancer.
Hill worked next to the Children's Hospital in Boston at the time and would frequently visit Maddie while she received treatment on the oncology floor.
“I would stop in when she was at Children’s Hospital, either on my way to work in the morning to drop off coffee for her mom or dad, or during lunch or after work,” said Hill.
But in October 2008, cancer took Maddie’s life.
“I was present when Maddie took her last breath, wrapped in her mother’s arms and surrounded by family and friends who loved her,” Hill recalled.
Hill called that experience a “life-changing event.”
“Spending so much time at Children’s Hospital on Six North, the oncology floor, I met so many more children battling cancer,” Hill said. “It’s one thing to be diagnosed as an adult, but when a young child is given this diagnosis, it is beyond devastating.”
Watching Maddie fight cancer for two years inspired Hill to try and help, so she committed to riding the Pan-Mass Challenge against cancer.
The 51-year-old Belcher Lane resident has been riding in the PMC since 2010 and will be riding in her third PMC event this August.
"I ride on the Pedals for Pediatrics team,” Hill said. “The money raised by our team is restricted to pediatric oncology – it does not go into the unrestricted pot of funds at Dana Farber. Most people don’t realize that very little of the 36 million dollars raised by the PMC is spent on pediatric oncology services and research.”
Inspired by Maddie and others who have lost their lives to cancer, Hill said her Pedals for Pediatrics team shares a common mission – to “ease the burden of childhood cancer with every mile ridden and every dollar raised.”
Hill said she enjoys the entire PMC weekend and the opportunity to meet other riders, hear their stories and see spectators line the route to show support.
“It is just an awesome experience,” Hill said. … “We meet after the event, and as a committee makes the decisions on how the funds get allocated. For me, it is confirmation that we are making a difference.”
Hill said personally, her goal is to help a family with a child in treatment any way she can.
“If the money I raise helps a family with a child in treatment pay a mortgage payment, puts a smile on a child’s face as they enjoy the resource room on 6 north, funds critical research that gets us closer to a cure, or helps a sibling deal with having a brother or sister with cancer … it makes all the work that goes into fund raising all worthwhile. The ride is the easy part – but to ride you have to commit to raising a minimum of $4,300 for the two-day event. If I fall short of that goal, I pay it myself.”
It doesn’t look like Hill will have to pay any of this year’s goal as her PMC profile page shows she has raised $4,015 as of July 17.Donations are still being accepted and can be made at her PMC profile page by clicking here.
Prior to committing to the 2012 PMC, Hill admitted she almost did not participate in this year’s event.
“I thought about skipping the ride this year - $4300 is a large amount of money to raise, and my husband Doug and I also do the MS Cape Cod ride in June,” Hill wrote on her profile page.
But a story of a five-year-old girl who lost her battle with cancer that was shared on the girl’s mother’s carepage reminded Hill of Maddie and led to her committing for the 2012 event.
“I knew skipping it was a bad idea," Hill said. "Every time I think of Maddie, I remember what it was that made me ride. I ride on a team that I know makes a difference and helps families who are struggling to make it through each day while their child is in treatment.”
Hill said she will ride the Wellesley to Provincetown route again of the PMC - 163 miles in two days. She also participated in the MS Cape Cod Getaway in June – UMass Boston to Provincetown, 175 miles in two days - which was in honor of her sister, who has MS.
In addition to losing children she knew to cancer, the disease has also led to tragic loss in Hill’s family.
“I lost my mother to breast cancer when I was eight years old,” Hill said. “My father died in 2008 of bladder cancer. My 44-year-old brother-in-law had surgery last year for colon cancer and my mother-in-law was treated for breast cancer three years ago.”
Hill said she had too many reasons to ride and it seems every year, she has “another angel” on her shoulder as she “pedals to Provincetown.”
And despite all the help and support she and other riders have been able to provide ... it has yet to change one thing about the horrible disease, according to Hill.
“Cancer sucks,” she said.
But these riders and these stories provide hope and inspiration for others to get involved.
“If people cannot make the commitment to ride, they should think about volunteering,” Hill said. “Just being part of the overall experience is priceless.”
A total of nine Foxborough residents will be participating in this year's PMC ride on Aug. 4-5. If you are one of those riders who would like to share your story like Hill did with Foxborough Patch, contact local editor Jeremie Smith at Jeremie.Smith@patch.com.