The Jimmy Fund Council of Western Massachusetts (JFCWM) recently presented the prestigious Sadowsky Visionary Award to Chris and Denise Nikolis, co-coordinators and organizers of the Suffield Pan-Mass (PMC) Kids Ride.
The couple received their award during the Council’s annual meeting, held November 8 at Storrowton Tavern in West Springfield. Chris and Denise started the ride in 2012, after realizing there were no other Jimmy Fund fundraising events for kids in their area.
Chris, a nine-year PMC rider (Sturbridge to Provincetown), set a goal to recruit kids and raise $5,000 the first year. The result, was 83 riders and a total of $11,500 was raised for the Jimmy Fund. Ridership has steadily increased, and the event raised $50,000 in 2017, contributing to this year’s PMC Kids Ride fundraising total of $850,000, part of the PMC’s record-breaking $51 million gift to Dana-Farber.
“Denise and I are honored to receive the Sadowsky Visionary Award, named for a family that has done so much great work for The Jimmy Fund. The Suffield PMC Kids Ride is all about the hundreds of people who have come aboard, including our wonderful riders, volunteers, partners and supporters. We are all dedicated to the PMC and The Jimmy Fund and will keep at it as long as needed,” Nikolis said.
They also hold a pasta dinner and bottle/can drive each year. Riders have held tag sales, bake sales, restaurant “dine-in” nights and a dog walking business. New events are in the planning process.
In six years, the ride has raised more than $190,000, mostly from riders and their fundraising.
The Suffield PMC Kids Ride remains the only such ride in Connecticut and has been recognized by the PMC for best practices for existing and new rides.
Information on the 2018 event, which will take place May 12 at McAlister School is available on their Facebook page.
The Sadowsky Visionary Award was established in 2004 (first given in 2005) by the JFCWM to honor a business or individual who exemplifies the vision and spirit of the family for whom the award is named. It is given to those who demonstrate extraordinary commitment to the Jimmy Fund and to the mission of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute by conceiving, leading or dedicating themselves to an event or activity that delivers annual financial support and/or long-term volunteer commitment.