September 1, 2012
It's Jennifer Siddall's business to make people feel good. Owner of Energia--a yoga and spinning exercise center in Hadley--Jennifer spends her days teaching and encouraging people to achieve overall health and well-being. And she also happens to do good in her off-time. A participant of and advocate for the Pan-Massachuessetts Challenge, Jennifer puts her body and heart into furthering cancer research and treatment through LONG distance cycling. What we love about Jennifer is that she doesn't so much talk about what she does to help others, but about how others have helped fulfill her.
Jennifer and Megan
Can you tell us about the Pan- Massachusetts Challenge and the kind of support the organization offers?
The Pan-Massachusetts Challenge is a 192 mile, 2 day cycling ride every August from Sturbridge to Provincetown. 100% of funds raised by riders go directly to the Jimmy Fund, which supports cancer research and treatment at the world-renowned Dana- Farber Cancer Institute. The ride has raised over $336 million dollars since it began in 1980.
The PMC gives riders and teams an opportunity to be partnered with a child receiving cancer treatment at Dana-Farber through their Pedal Partners Program. This unique and special relationship offers both support and encouragement to the family of the child going through treatment, as well as giving the teamʼs riders inspiration, motivation and insight into what itʼs like to be a child with a life threatening disease. I have the privilege of being our teamʼs Pedal Partner coordinator and feel blessed to have gotten to know 2 1/2 year old Megan and her family this year. At 15 months old, Megan was diagnosed with Adrenal Cortical Carsonoma- a very rare and fiercely aggressive cancer. After 9 months of non-stop treatment (unavailble ten years ago), Megan is now on to the business of being a little kid and is enjoying life with her family and friends.
What are some ways for people to get involved or make contributions?
Over 5,000 riders and more than 3,000 volunteers participated in the PMC this year, so one can either raise funds and ride, volunteer throughout the weekend (it is an incredibly inspiring, moving and emotional experience no matter which side of the bike you are on), or make a donation on behalf of a rider or in honor or memory of someone you know with cancer. Go to www.pmc.org to learn more.
What are some of your goals for the future?
I have ridden in the PMC the last two years, and cannot imagine NOT riding again, so I will continue to train and ride, and keep raising money for the Jimmy Fund. It has been inspiring, uplifting, and heart-wrenching to spend time at Dana-Farber and Childrenʼs Hospital in Boston, and I would love to be able to be there more as a volunteer.
Where do you find inspiration?
I am inspired by children fighting cancer who are so young they donʼt even realize how brave and strong they are, and by people of all ages whoʼve had to battle this terrible disease.
Megan, her aunt, myself and another team member on this year's PMC ride at the Pedal Partner stop, mile 85.
What's your favorite line from a movie, song, or book?
There are several from the movie, Love Actually- here is one “...If you look for it, Iʼve got a sneaky feeling youʼll find that love actually is all around.”
If you were a piece of clothing, what would be and what color/pattern?
Iʼd have to say a worn and comfortable pair of blue jeans.
What is your favorite word, and why?
Grace- I love its meaning and the way it sounds.
When was the last time you laughed so hard you cried?
The week before last- spending some time with my 2 teenage kids, when we were telling stories from their childhood. So much fun!!