By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Northborough – For midwife Dina Fraize, Mother's Day has a special meaning. In 1998, when Fraize was pregnant with her fifth child, her mother, Juanita Hayward, was diagnosed with colon cancer. Hayward, then 50, underwent surgery at UMass Memorial, performed by a Dana Farber doctor.
“When my mother was diagnosed, my world came crashing down,” Fraize said. “My insides felt like they dropped out of me. Mom was so young and had small grandchildren who were a huge part of her life. I just can’t imagine being without my mom. She is my hero and my best friend. Everyone who knows her instantly loves her. She is so loving and nonjudgmental and kind.”
Following surgery, Hayward opted to begin an experimental drug therapy rather than the traditional regimen of radiation and chemotherapy. On May 13, she celebrated her 11th cancer-free Mother's Day since finishing treatment.
“I am forever grateful to Dana Farber for my mother's life,” said Fraize, who is training for the 33rd annual Pan Mass Challenge (PMC), which will take place the weekend of Aug. 4 and 5. The annual bike-a-thon raises money for lifesaving cancer research and treatment at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, with 100 percent of every rider-raised dollar going directly to the cause. The PMC makes up 40 percent of the entire Jimmy Fund. According to the PMC website (www.pmc.org), the fundraiser raises more money for charity than any other single event in the country.
Fraize began cycling in earnest about five years ago after years of spin classes, and fell in love with the sport. As she prepares for the 192-mile, two-day ride from Sturbridge to Provincetown, Fraize has stepped up her training schedule. She does Bikram yoga three times a week, lifts weights three times a week and began a cycling schedule that has her doing shorter 15- to 20-mile rides during the week and 30- to 40-mile rides each weekend day.
“I have never participated in a benefit ride or ridden over 100 miles, so this will be difficult for me, but I just keep thinking of all my mom went through and it keeps me focused,” Fraize said.
All participants in the PMC are required to raise $4,000 before August. To this end, Fraize has organized a fundraiser at Guiseppe's Grille, 35 Solomon Pond Road, Northborough on Saturday, June 2, from 6 to 11:30 p.m. There will be three bands playing throughout the evening: Jam bands, the New Frontiersmen and 3MF (they have been playing at Berklee School of Music) and, playing a variety of folk, blues and rock, John Fraize and Friends. In addition, there will be a raffle with items and gift cards from many local businesses and store including Britney's Restaurant and Innovations Hair Salon. Guiseppe's will be donating a portion of the nights” proceeds to Fraize's PMC fundraising bank.
“It means the world to me to help my mom and donate in this way,” said Fraize.
To learn more about the PMC visit: www.pmc.org
To donate on behalf of Fraize visit: http://www.pmc.org/profile/DF0183