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Local kids help kick off Pan-Mass. Challenge

Sophia Adamo, 8

Sophia Adamo, 8

PEDAL PARTNERS: Three young children will be watching at Fenway Park on May 19, each facing a battle larger than the ones that typically occur on that field.

Talan Keough, 4, of Plymouth, Evangeline Fox, 5, of Pembroke, and Sophia Adamo, 8, of Abington have cancer. And all are scheduled to be at Fenway Park that day as “Pedal Partners” in the 34th annual Pan-Massachusetts Challenge bike-a-thon, which raises money for cancer care and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where the kids get treatment.

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The event kicks off the 2013 Pedal Partner program that matches young cancer patients with teams of PMC cyclists who ride the event in their honor. The children and their families will be guests at a private party at Fenway, where they will meet cyclists riding for them, and enjoy games, activities, and brunch.

“She can’t do much, so little things like this mean a lot,” said Maureen Adamo, Sophia’s mother.

Her daughter has ROHHAD Syndrome, a rare disease that Maureen Adamo said has been diagnosed in only 80 children worldwide. Among other symptoms, the disease is marked by rapid-onset obesity, leaving Sophia with more than 200 pounds of weight on her 4-foot-11 frame. But within, her mother said, is a typical little girl.

“She loves dolls, she’s all about dolls,” Maureen Adamo said. “And she loves to draw; she just drew us the best family picture. She likes typical little-girl things.”

Her biggest goal, she said, “is to ride a bike — she’s never ridden one. I’m trying to get one of those trike bikes we can push her on.”

Sophia is about to embark on a new treatment at Dana-Farber, an experimental one developed at Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Maryland. Maureen Adamo said it is only the second time the treatment will have been tried in the country. Her daughter is limited in how much school she can take in, but does attend Beaver Brook Elementary School in Abington.

“Just this morning, when I was greeting the children, she gave me a big, bright smile,” said Marilyn Weber, the school principal. “She’s a nice little girl, very polite, thought very highly of by the staff and children. She tries, and we all try hard to have her participate in school activities as much as possible.”

The three children will meet their riders both at Fenway and during the ride Aug. 3, when they and their families will gather at a water stop on the route in Lakeville to cheer on their teams. The riders will spend time with them there before hitting the road again, a meet-up that is emotional and meaningful, said Billy Starr, PMC founder and executive director.

“Pedal Partners inspire cyclists to train, raise money, and complete the vigorous cycling challenge,” he said of the two-day, 190-mile ride that this year seeks to raise $38 million, and since its inception in 1980 has raised $375 million. “The Pedal Partner program is a unique way for the PMC to extend our ride to the children and families for whom cancer is a reality. Being connected to the children for whom they are riding and raising money is an emotional and empowering experience for PMCers, many of whom form lasting bonds with their Pedal Partners and families.”

Mostly, it is about regaining a sense of normalcy in an abnormal way of life for a child, Maureen Adamo said.

“She’s really looking forward to the ride,” she said of her daughter. “She wants to cheer on the people raising money for her cause.”

For information on the program, visit www.pmc.org and click on “Pedal Partners” under the “Ride” menu.

BUSINESS BRIEFS: Physician Mary L. Delaney of Weymouth was named the 2013 Community Clinician of the Year by the Norfolk South District Medical Society. The award was established in 1998 by the Massachusetts Medical Society to recognize a doctor from each of its 20 district medical societies who stands out as a leading advocate and caregiver. Delaney is a physician with Harbor Medical Associates in Weymouth, and was honored for her work in the district society’s annual “Smoking — Don’t Go There Program,” a public-service effort that reaches middle- and high-school students throughout the region with an antitobacco message. She has participated in the program since it began 14 years ago.

Jacqueline C. Beagan of Scituate, a global head of clinical trial management for EMD Serono Inc., was recognized by Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association as a “2013 Rising Star,” part of the association’s Woman of the Year award scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in New York City. The award recognizes her aptitude for collaborative and cross-functional leadership, overseeing the achievement of milestones across the company’s clinical trials and providing strategic direction. She had been recently promoted to her post from director, a job she had held since December 2010.

Three area residents were hired or promoted by Randolph-based ground-transportation company ETS International. Thomas J. Montgomery of Holbrook was hired as afternoon dispatch supervisor, previously working as executive director of analysis and operations for Apex Express in Brockton. Stephen G. Fairfax of Weymouth was made a dispatcher, and had worked for ETS as a chauffeur. Braintree resident Tracey A. Fitzgibbon was hired as assistant controller, and had worked as controller for Hill & Partners in Weymouth.

Christopher J. O’Connor of Hingham was named senior vice president of philanthropy at South Shore Hospital Charitable Foundation, the philanthropic arm of South Shore Hospital in Weymouth. He was formerly with Cape Cod Healthcare, where he was president of its charitable foundation since 2010, leading a team that successfully ran a $100 million capital campaign. Prior to joining the Cape group, he had advised the South Shore foundation while he was senior vice president at Ghiorsi & Sorrenti, a capital-campaign consulting firm.

Paul E. Kandarian can be reached at Kandarian@globe.com.
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