Vineyard Pedicab entrepreneurs Will and John Pasquina will host the first Pan-Martha Challenge, a 40-mile bikeathon across the Vineyard to raise money for cancer research and treatment at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, on Oct. 4 at 9:30 a.m.
Participants are asked to gather donations before pedaling from the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs to the cliffs of Aquinnah, a route one-fifth the length of the statewide charity event it mimics, the Pan-Mass Challenge.
The Pan-Mass Challenge is a charity ride across Massachusetts that supports the Jimmy Fund at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. The event raises millions of dollars annually.
“This is a way for people to get together and hopefully raise a lot of money for this cause,” said event coordinator and Vineyard Pedicab co-owner Will Pasquina. “It’s the Pan-Martha Challenge because we want it to be a fundraiser with local color.”
Mr. Pasquina hopes the event will raise $5,000 for Dana Farber and urges participants to reach toward $500 as an individual fundraising goal.
With the ride still one month away, Will has already collected $100 in donations the old-fashioned way: by letter writing and phone calls to family, neighbors and friends.
Charitableness is the cornerstone of Vineyard Pedicab, the second branch of a community-based company founded in the seaside town of Newburyport by two entrepreneurs who decided to expand their Big Brothers and Big Sisters mentorship into a business partnership.
Since Newburyport Pedicab was established in 2007, founder Kevin Murphy, who lost both parents to cancer, has donated every dollar the company has earned to the Pan-Mass Challenge, an event he participates in and the bikeathon that inspired his business design.
Last summer, Will pedaled for Newburyport Pedicab. Mr. Murphy encouraged him to start an Oak Bluffs offshoot of the company as the creative half of a partnership with his business-minded brother.
“Kevin came out [to the Vineyard] a few years ago and he said, ‘You guys have to expand out here. It’s perfect. Someone is going to snatch up the whole market,’ ” Will said. “And we figured it might as well be us.”
Inspired by Mr. Murphy’s altruistic enterprise and motivated by their mother’s cancer diagnosis, the Pasquina brothers expanded the business in May after purchasing four of their own shiny yellow rickshaws for a branch on the Vineyard. Staffed with 14 peddlers, the not-for-profit company offers a green and cost-free transportation option to pedestrians in Oak Bluffs from May through October.
“If you look around the streets of Oak Bluffs, you can see pedicabs just being here,” Will said. “Once we started [Vineyard Pedicabs], we had a bunch of guys come up to us and tell us that they had had the same idea and wish they had done it.”
To register for the Pan-Martha Challenge, call Will Pasquina at 978-270-0652. Donations can be sent to: Pan Mass Challenge, P.O. Box 1938, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.