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Young cyclists to take the ‘challenge’ in Wilmington

Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass visited a swimming class at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, where he recently spoke to youngsters about the importance of water safety.

Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass visited a swimming class at the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence, where he recently spoke to youngsters about the importance of water safety.

PEDALING FOR A CAUSE: Young riders will be hopping on their bikes in Wilmington on May 18 to raise money for cancer care and research.

The Pan-Mass Challenge’s Wilmington-Andover Kids Ride is one of 37 such events held throughout New England and beyond each year.

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They complement the Pan-Mass Challenge, a two-day bike-a-thon held the first weekend of August that has older teens and adults riding on their choice of several routes, including the original 190-trek from Sturbridge to Provincetown. Since 1980, the riders have raised $414 million to fund adult and pediatric patient care and cancer research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.

The PMC Kids Rides offer a way for children to become part of the event’s mission, involving them in volunteerism and fund-raising in a safe and athletic way. Last year, the rides attracted nearly 4,700 cyclists ages 2 to 15, who rode between 1 and 26 miles . The program has raised more than $5.5 million.

In the Wilmington-Andover Kids Ride, cyclists from prekindergarten to sixth grade will ride 1-mile loops around the Boutwell Early Childhood Center, West Intermediate School, and Wilmington Middle School.

The event was started by Sue Hendee and Carolyn Priem.

Hendee is a physical education teacher in Wilmington and has cycled in the Pan-Mass Challenge for 24 years.

Priem’s son is a cancer survivor who was treated at Dana-Farber when he was a toddler.

For the fifth consecutive year, the ride is being dedicated to Lyndsey Pettengill, a local pediatric cancer patient and the officially designated Pedal Partner. Pettengill is a four-time participant in the ride.

The ninth annual event includes a free raffle, face painting, music, and refreshments for riders and their families.

The goal is to raise $17,000.

The ride runs 9 a.m. to noon. There is a $10 registration fee and a $25 fund-raising minimum. To register, visit www.kids.pmc.org.

For more information, call 800-932-9253 or e-mail
s.hendee@comcast.net.

SWIMMING FOR LIFE: Boston Celtics forward Brandon Bass didn’t learn to swim until last year, when he was 28 years old.

“It’s a life-saving skill,” he recently told more than 500 members of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence.

His message of water safety and goal setting was timed to encourage sign-ups for the free ZAC swim camp, held at the club last week.

The camp was sponsored by the ZAC Foundation, which has partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America to bring swimming camps to thousands of youths nationwide.

The camp included swimming classes, classroom curriculum, and various hands-on activities.

In addition, Lawrence firefighters lectured about the dangers of venturing onto melting ice on rivers and ponds, and demonstrated lifesaving equipment.

In December 2002, seven young members of the Boys & Girls Club of Lawrence strayed from a path on their way home and ventured onto the Merrimack River’s thin ice. They fell through, and four of the friends drowned. In May 2010, a 13-year-old club member drowned in the Merrimack’s strong current.

Karen and Brian Cohn founded the ZAC Foundation in 2008 after their 6-year-old son, Zachary Archer Cohn, drowned as a result of being entrapped in the suction of a swimming pool drain.

The foundation is devoted to educating the public about the importance of water safety. Visit www.thezacfoundation.com for more information.

WHO’S WHAT WHERE: Andover resident Harvey Harrison was recently named a Walking Ambassador as part of the Lifestyle Change Awards presented by Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and the American Heart Association. The awards recognize Boston-area individuals who made lifestyle changes that improved their heart health. Harrison underwent triple bypass surgery in 1985 and has since had 22 coronary interventions. By walking six to seven days a week, playing tennis, and watching what he eats, he has dramatically improved his cardiovascular health and no longer needs biannual interventions. . . . Josh Ackman is the new camp and community engagement director at the Jewish Community Center of the North Shore in Marblehead. Ackman collaborates with local Jewish agencies on youth and family programming. The JCC has also named Melissa Caplan as director of the new special needs inclusion program at its Summer on the Hill camps. The program welcomes children age 3 or older with special needs.

Items can be sent to wdkilleen@gmail.com.
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