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AUGUST 2 & 3 a very moving way to care BY RICHARD MURPHY “No one is

“No one is out there for a Sunday stroll. Everyone is out there honoring someone.”


Martha’s Vineyard Team


WHAT STARTS AT THE STURBRIDGE HOST HOTEL AND ENDS UP WITH $34 MILLION RAISED? The Pan Mass Challenge, and it will begin here on August 2 with over 5000 bicy- clists from 36 states and 10 foreign countries participating. They will pedal 192 miles from Main Street, Sturbridge to Provincetown. Those millions of dollars will be raised for the Jimmy Fund, to be used for cancer research and care at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. There are two Pan Mass Challenge (PMC) facts that should impress everyone. PMC raises twice as much as any other athletic fundraising charity event. Even more striking is that last year 100-percent of every dollar raised by riders went to the Jimmy Fund. PMC is serious fundraising. If you want to ride you must commit to raise between $1,300 and $4,000 to be part of the team. The majority raise twice the minimum. The Pan Mass Challenge began in the mind of Billy Starr,when his mom died of melanoma at 49.To cope, Billy embarked on a grueling hike along the Appalachian Trail with friends. He had done all the planning and logistics for the adventure. The tortuous weather caused two of his friends to retreat to civilizations, but Billy stayed to endure the unendurable. Out of that hard experience came his understanding that “those who put in the mental energy,


© LES GARDNER PHOTOGRAPHY Everyone has a reason to be there. not just the ph


Everyone has a reason to be there.

not just the physical energy, follow their goals from theory to mission accomplished.” In 1980 he gathered a group for more than just an endurance test. This time they would ride to raise money in the battle against his mother’s killer and that of other relatives. The 33 cyclists started in Springfield and rode 220 miles and raised $10,200 for the Jimmy Fund and Starr realized his vocation, in the true Latin-root sense, his call- ing. “My goal in starting the Pan- Mass Challenge was to bring peo- ple together … to give back and raise money for cancer.I never had a career plan, and even when I created the PMC, it was more something I needed to do, to help me feel better and evoke my moth- er’s memory.” In 1981, the starting point moved to Sturbridge and has been here ever since. For those who wonder why they’ve never seen the race begin, Site coordinators Sue Brogan and Matt McGuinness explain that if you have not gone by the Sturbridge Host Hotel by 6:15 a.m. on the day of the ride, you’ve missed it. Setup starts on Wednesday. Registration and the “PMC Store” are coordinated on Thursday. On Friday, at 7:00 a.m. the volunteers arrive, followed by the riders who come in the afternoon. On the big day, breakfast starts at 4:30 a.m. The riders are off at 6:00 and the parking lot is clear before most of us have shuffled to our coffee. PMC has been good for Sturbridge, particularly its lodging industry. Sue and Matt have devel- oped the system, with PMC, to see that everything goes off smoothly on this end of the ride. The town itself has been good to the ride,

according to Sue. Jim Malloy, Sturbridge town administrator, lends a hand, even to being a shut- tle bus driver. Matt’s dad, Steve, is the parking and shuttle coordina- tor. There is excitement on Friday evening with Billy Starr speaking and a keynote. There is also live entertainment. Sue emphasized that PMC is a culture. She was a rider for 12 years and some of her dearest friends are people she only sees in Sturbridge every year. They all come together and pick up again where they left off. The culture spans generations. The Merolla brothers from Larchmont, NY will be riding on that morning out of Sturbridge. Their dad had been a long time PMCer; their mom died of breast cancer. Justin and Jamie Merolla, along with friend Ben Herrmann, will start their trek in San Francisco, arriving here by August 2 to ride to the Cape with everyone else. Why so much more? As Justin puts it, “Riding across the country is a way to do something in their (his now deceased parents) memory and to identify with my dad. I’d like to think they’d be proud of us. It’s really something for us to do for them.” The boys hope to raise $75,000 for research from the extended odyssey. For the Merollas, a great part of the impetus is a family member cancer victim. The disease con- nects so many on a personal level. Ewell Hopkins, leader of the Martha’s Vineyard team received a donation from his Sunday School teacher and found out the 87 year old had undergone a double mas- tectomy while her husband was battling cancer. Ewell said, “No one is out there for a Sunday stroll. Everyone is out there honoring Continued on next page

Ev er yone is out there honoring Continued on next page T HE C HRONICLE OF
Ev er yone is out there honoring Continued on next page T HE C HRONICLE OF



Grosser’s work with refugees uncovers ‘Trees in the Pavement’

By Stephanie Richards

At the tender age of four, Jennifer Grosser told her mother she wanted to write stories like Swedish children’s author Elsa Beskow when she grew up. Little did she know her own life experi- ences working with refugees would for- mulate the basis for her first children’s novel. Trees in the Pavement, for eight to 12 year olds, has been available since May in Europe and is scheduled for release in the U.S. this month.“I loved being read to and reading on my own growing up. But, I never wanted to be a full-time writer,” said Jennifer, who works at a Worcester Starbucks. “I actually started writing a fantasy novel when I was 17, but then went a different direction.” The Charlton resident spent five and one half years as a missionary in London working with refugees.“In the first year and a half, I mostly had contact with Albanians from Kosovo,” said Jennifer, who holds a BA in English Literature from Wheaton College.“In the remaining time after that, most of my friends (usually

Pan Mass Challenge

Continued from previous page someone.” There is that no-one-is-exempt and we-are-all-in-it-together flavor in the way he phrases it,“Its interesting. Fifty-five hundred riders and 2,600 volunteers, and everyone has a story. Either they them- selves have had cancer, or they know someone who has had it.” He is right, of course, just ask yourself. It is the rare indi- vidual who has no one in his or her life who has lost or won a battle with cancer. That PMC culture not only spans adult generations like the Merollas, but it has been extended to children. Kids from three years of age to 15 are raising money as well. In the South Shore town of Hingham, children rode a much shorter course last month for the same cause. Last year over 500 kids raised $64,000 for the Jimmy Fund through PMC. Jonathan Sheehan of Quincy aims to improve on the $1,600 he raised in 2007 with a goal of $3,000 this year. I hate to get up early on a Saturday morning, but not on August 2. I’ll be at the Sturbridge Host to see the PMC riders as they start out. It’s as worthy an event as any we have in Massachusetts let alone Sturbridge. It’s wonderful to be able to cheer on something this big and you don’t feel the least bit cynical about it.

big and y ou don’ t feel the least bit cynical about it. JENNIFER GROSSER refugees)


refugees) were from Turkey, Iran and Pakistan.” Her experience learning about their cultures and beliefs while also sharing her own laid the foundation for characters in Trees in the Pavement.The story is seen through the eyes of Zari, a young Albanian girl, and her family’s journey from Kosovo to a different life in London, where even the trees seem different. Zari encounters Jesus Christ through people in her life there, and wrestles with thoughts of what it could mean for her. She reflects on how much her life has changed and being out- side her comfort zone. It was Jennifer’s aunt who inspired her to Continued on page 18

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The Dark Horse Tavern

The Dark Horse Tavern is emerging as a popular after-work spot in the 12 Crane building at South- bridge’s Flatiron District. Gabe McCarthy and his wife Margaret own and run the tavern. Margaret explains: “We wanted to be known for our hospitality and be a welcoming place for visitors and locals alike. The idea of a small intimate surrounding is key to this and all these little seating spaces were carved out of the open space that once was a cold storage facility

and later a cannery.We also would like the building

to be environmentally friendly

much green-technology as we can and are putting in a little garden in back.” Margaret, a native of Ireland, discusses the aspects of the tavern that make it stand out. “It has a unique appeal and appearance. It is modeled on the pubs of Ireland and England and we are told is an accurate representation. Some of the furniture was built on site (the tables in Cannery Row for example) and some of the furniture and interesting pieces used as decoration are recycled. As with all of the spaces at the 12 Crane com- plex, the tavern was carved out from a large open warehouse. All the nooks and crannies are created to add to the aesthetics and atmosphere. Margaret reports that the tavern serves the best burger in Southbridge. “It is clearly one of our most popular food items,” she says. According to Margaret, the space is open for private parties. “We have lots of space in the complex to host parties and can offer large or small intimate spaces, depending on what is needed.

How did they get the name Dark Horse Tavern?

Many pubs in Ireland and England have associa- tions with horses (as the equestrian industry is so important to the economy of both countries) and the names of the pub will be reflective of

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short article at the following link:


a better explanation please look at the

For a better explanation please look at the 1 6 T H E S T U