Local Town Pages - In 1986, Franklin’s Tim Brightman lost his brother Steve to melanoma, and from that point on, he decided he wanted to stand against cancer and began looking for something that he could do.
“When my brother was originally diagnosed, he wanted a second opinion and went to the Dana Farber Institute, and it was here he saw the Jimmy Fund kids,” Brightman said. “He then told my mother he wished there was something that he could do for them. I’m just fulfilling his wish.”
After his brother’s passing, Brightman tried to formulate an idea in which he could honor his brother’s wish and then someone told him about the Pan Mass Challenge.
“I owned a bike, and I thought that I was a bike rider, so I registered and committed to the ride and have never looked back,” he said. “In the beginning years, there was only one route (192 miles to Provincetown). There was no question about not finishing; that was not an option.”
During his training, he found himself a little embarrassed be wearing spandex, so he would put a pair of shorts over his bicycle short. Today spandex is second nature.
During that first year, Brightman took in $3,600 in donations for the Jimmy Fund, this year, his 30th riding in his brother’s memory, he is currently at $22,600 with donations still coming in this year and has amassed over $226,000 over the 30 years of riding. Although that first year was a great accomplishment, one in which he found himself walking around in an afterglow, he has totally immersed himself in PMC.
“During that weekend, nothing else matters. You’re riding the route with people holding signs thanking you – I’m very proud of my involvement,” Brightman said. “It has become the highlight of my year, and I look forward to this weekend every year. I am thankful to my sponsors that allow me to participate in such an outstanding event, where 100% of the proceeds pass through to the Jimmy Fund.”
While the ride has gotten easier over those 30 years, it was a little different to Brightman in the beginning.
“Those early years were very emotional as the route went within a mile of my brother’s grave in Mansfield,” he said. “I would stop by and pay tribute to him, but then they moved the route and although it was out of the way I still stopped by during the ride. Unfortunately, the route has been changed again, and it’s much further away so I can’t stop by anymore.”
Brightman put together a group called Phat Tuesday’s that rides in the PMC and each year they partner with a pedal partner, a pediatric patient. While Brightman was taking part in his 30th PMC, his brother Mark has made the trip up from Reston Virginia the past 25 years to ride in memory of his brother, Steve. This year Steve’s son, Dave Hennessey a Wrentham native, who turned 2 only 10 days after his dad’s passing joined his uncles on the ride.
“It was very rewarding to ride with Dave this year,” Brightman said.