South Attleboro resident Nicole Candito stood on the sidelines cheering on team Parker Power last August as its members approached the unscheduled Pan-Massachusetets Challenge water/snack stop at Dodgeville Field, set up by the team and other loved ones of Attleboro resident and youth girls' basketball and soccer coach David Parker.
Parker was diagnosed with terminal colon cancer, and died from the disease in October of 2014.
At the time of the Pan-Mass. Challenge last year - which raises money for the Jimmy Fund and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, team Parker Power consisted of three members.
This year Candito is moving from the sidelines and joining two other new members as part of team Parker Power. The team of six will take on the two-day route from Sturbridge to Provincetown during the 36th annual PMC, which will be held Saturday, Aug.1 and Sunday, Aug. 2.
Candito described the experience of cheering on the team last year, along with about 50 others, including David Parker, as motivational and inspirational.
Candito said she wanted to move away from the sidelines and onto a bike to honor Parker, his family and all he had gone through in a short time during his battle with colon cancer.
"He was such a good man. He continued to coach up until a week before he died," Candito said. "I watched him be this healthy guy, and at the end he couldn't even walk. He was a man of grace and dignity."
Team Parker Power will be just one part of the massive weekend effort to raise money to beat cancer. All told, more than 6,000 cyclists will be riding with a goal to raise $45 million for adult and pediatric cancer care and research.
Each teammate has a goal to raise $,4,500. Candito is making progress toward reaching her goal, with about $900 left to raise a few years ago.
"The PMC brings people together from all walks of life, from all over the country and the world. This is what makes ride weekend such a unique and momentous occasion," said PMC founder and Executive Director Billy Starr.
"This year, we are prouder than ever to have over 6,000 cyclists coming together to ride for a cure and help us beat our $45 million fundraising goal."
Participants can choose from six two-day and five one-day routes to cater to all cycling levels.
The one-day routes range from 25 to 110 miles while the two-day routes range from 153 to 190 miles.
The routes will take cyclists through up to 46 towns in the state - including just about every community in The Sun Chronicle area.
Locally, PMC cyclists will travel through Wrentham, Plainville, North Attleboro, Attleboro, Rehoboth, Dighton, Mansfield, Norfolk, Norton and Foxboro.
Most participants in the PMC ride in honor of a family member or loved who is fighting or has fought cancer.
Team Parker Power will be setting up another unscheduled water and snack stop at Dodgeville Field to honor Parker. The team is expecting about 100 people from the area to attend wearing red T-shirts dedicated to Parker.
On the second day of PMC, the team will be wearing jerseys to honor Parker.
Enthusiastic supporters also will greet the riders on Cherry Street in Wrentham, whose residents always make it a point of turning out in force to cheer on the riders as they pass by on Saturday morning.
This year, the King Philip Steel Drum Band and the Colonial Pipers Bagpipe Band of Norwood will be there to provide music throughout the morning, the residents reported.
Since 1980, the PMC has raised more than $455 million, and if this year's $45 million goal is reached, the PMC's total funds raised since its inception will total a half billion dollars for Dana-Farber.
KASSMIN WILLIAMS can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.