New Canaan resident Anne Waldron has always been into fitness—and, what’s more—turning that love into a tangible charitable cause.
A cause near and dear to her heart is cancer research. Waldron lost her father-in-law almost ten years ago to stomach cancer, and her mother-in-law is currently battling Lymphoma.
Knowing the pain the disease causes, Waldron wouldn’t let herself make any excuse not to bike in the Pan-Mass Challenge this weekend in Massachusetts.
“Last year I blew my knee out playing paddle tennis in May,” Waldron said. “I spent the summer and early fall coming back and during that amount of time we’ve been dealing with my mother-in-law having lymphoma, so that kicked me and I said, ‘you know what, I am lucky, I’m alive, I’m healthy, I can do this; why not?’”
Waldron has raised $10,000 for her cause and will be riding 84 miles in the Saturday portion of the two-day event.
Once a marathon runner, then a triathlete, Waldron raised over $26,000 for the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“Kettering took amazing care of (her father-in-law),” Waldron said. “And I promised him I would raise money for them.”
In the Pan-Mass Challenge, Waldron and the rest of the 6,500 riders raise funds for the Dana Farber Institute in Boston.
Waldron heard of the event several years ago from friends in the area. She was interested immediately, it was just a matter of timing.
“I’ve wanted to do it, but it never worked out,” Waldro said. “This year it all came together, it seems like everybody is being touched by cancer, but it’s really for my mother-in-law and the memory of my father-in-law.”
Her memories, as well as the ones shared with her at the event, will be what pushes her through the finish line on Saturday.
“I know the energy of the day and all the cancer survivors and all the stories I’m going to hear are going to take me the last 20 miles,” Waldron said.
What adrenaline won’t cover, experience and training will. Waldron just returned from Corsica, where her and her husband trained with other cyclists leading up to Saturday.
“When we were in Corsica, there was a day we did 53 miles and 3,900 vertical feet,” Waldron said. “Finishing that with a smile on my face, I know I can do the pan-mass.”
Really, she knew all along, because that’s the way she’s always been.
“I’m the type of personality where I can put my head down and get through anything,” she said. “Whether it’s for a good time or competitively, I’m going to finish.”