Pan-Mass Challenge: 2011 Fundraising Overview

UPDATE: I am officially signed up for the 2012 Pan-Mass Challenge: to sponsor my ride (and make these graphs prettier next year), please go to to donate. Thanks!

Last year, after riding in my third Pan-Mass Challenge (an annual two-day bicycle ride/cancer fundraiser), I thought I had enough of a track record to look at fundraising trends. In that post, I saw the rise in overall fundraising, number of sponsors and average donation amount as the progression of an improving fundraising effort and the expanding reach of my social networks. This year, the numbers were different but still interesting. First, the fundraising total shrank for the first time:

While an organization may see this as alarming, I should add that I once again surpassed my goal; after 2010’s success, I upped my goal from the minimum ($4,200) to the “Heavy Hitter” line ($6,300), and actually had little problem making that mark. I see the $9,000-plus total from 2010 as somewhat of an aberration– not in success, but in the amount of it, as several one-time sponsors donated late last year in memory of my father-in-law’s passing (the family had actually steered people to the PMC in the obituary, a fitting tribute). Despite the “one-time” donations in 2010, I still saw a sharp increase in sponsors from 2010 to 2011, the most encouraging number in the bunch. The message of the PMC’s cancer-fighting cause continues to spread:

Repeat sponsors was a bit of a mix, but again no surprise: more “repeats” donated this year, with the falloff in percentage a factor of the ever-growing total number of sponsors. I can probably do more to keep current donors involved and perhaps get the repeats up over the 50% next year.

The average donation fell off, close to 2009 levels. The major reason for this was that several of my “corporate” donors, people representing organizations that generally donated in the $500 range, did not repeat this year. The median donation was still $50, meaning that individual donors were not giving less, as this number might indicate and for the short-term that will continue, I suspect. So, the drop in average donation is not so alarming, though if I were a non-profit organization I would be concerned about the corporate sponsor drop-offs (and would certainly welcome them back, hint-hint).

Putting the numbers in perspective: I am happier with the increase in people sponsoring than I am disappointed at the lower dollar amounts. If I were an organization I would have some concern about the dropoff in larger “corporate” donors, but as those have been outliers in my case rather than the primary targets I cannot be totally surprised.

For 2012? I will target getting more repeat donors while continuing to increase my base of generous sponsors as well as my overall fundraising target. I hope the look at numbers does not make my PMC fundraising seem too clinical- as I sincerely appreciate each and every sponsor, as well as others who support me in various ways.  On to 2012!


Pan-Mass Challenge 2011

Pan-Mass Challenge 2011 – Done!

Two short weeks ago, I finished my fourth Pan-Mass Challenge. As always it is a great, well-run event, a 2-day ride to Provincetown to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute (you can still sponsor my ride here:

What was special about this year?

  • The last year was a tough one for cancer in our families. Last September my father-in-law, John Perkins, passed away from cancer, and then on May 14, I lost my own father. I always held the PMC cause dear, but this year it was more than just a bike ride.
  • Sponsors were as generous as ever, having donated more than $7,500 (so far) in support of my ride. More impressive, I had a record number of  sponsors this year, which means even more than the amount.
  • I tried something different this year; I took on a “shirt sponsor,” Helmtops. They sent me this great jersey that I wore on Day 2, and along the route I stopped on occasion to hand out some helmtops (decorations for children’s helmets) when I saw a kid with a bike cheering us on. Special thanks to all sponsors, but I wanted to single out Helmtops out for making this effort, on top of their ongoing support of the many children’s PMC rides.

Pan-Mass Challenge 2011


  • I also took video, as usual. This year I used a Contour HD Camera, which I found easier to use than the Flip and Kodak cameras I employed in previous years. In fact, the reason this post is two weeks after the event is that I wanted to find the time to edit down this tribute to the wonderful people who come out to cheer the riders all along the route- even on the Bourne Bridge at 5:30 am.

  • In all, what a great event! We even managed to avoid the rain on Cape Cod on Day 2 (well, while we were riding at least). It’s great to have the long ride behind me, but the fight against cancer continues; if you have yet to sponsor my ride, we are collecting donations through October 1 at– and again, Thank You!
Bonus video: if you have the stomach for less, well, brief video, I did my usual Day 1 and Day 2 “Rider’s View” videos, embedded below:

Pan-Mass Challenge Update- Goal Reached, Miles to Go

Thanks to you, I have reached my initial fundraising goal of $6,400- five weeks before the Pan-Mass Challenge! The generosity from sponsors, both returning friends and new ones, has been amazing. I thought I would get a screen capture of the gauge from my fundraising page. It is a great feeling to see that full!

Making the goal designates me as a “Heavy Hitter” PMC rider- in fact, that’s all the number means, so if you have yet to sponsor my ride, please feel free to do so at

100% of every dollar riders raise goes to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in boston,m a remarkable organization dedicated to cancer treatment and research for a cure.

Now what? Well, I still have riding to do to prepare for the Pan-Mass Challenge on August 6-7. In order to go 170 miles in 2 days (the approximate distance I will ride on my route), I still have to keep up on training. I have been keeping a training diary, and while I have biked fewer total miles compared to this point last year, I have done many more long rides (40+ miles). It will be interesting to see how this affects my preparation, but I feel that I am on track.

Meantime, I have been experimenting with a new camera for the bike: the Contour HD. It seems to have a wider angle and better video quality than the Kodak Playsport I had been using- and the dedicated handlebar mount allows for easier swiveling to take in the sights. Audio is still an issue, as the bike simply makes too much rattling noise, but as you will hear in the video  the use of music is a nice alternative.

Here is my first published ride using the Contour, from a recent ride with my Sunday group:

Again, thank yo to all who support my ride, in any way that you do.


Music in video:
“Stay” by Paulina Logan:

“Slim Slow Ride” by As Cobras Malditas

Pan-Mass Challenge Update: All Momentum, Fundraising & Miles

It has been a while since I have blogged about my Pan-Mass Challenge efforts, but that has not been for lack of activity. It’s hard to believe it, but the PMC is less than two months away (August 6-7), and I am starting to feel a sense of urgency about training. The good news is I am on pace with last year’s training in terms of miles (I keep track using Evernote, and haven’t dived in yet to Android apps like MapMyRide or Runkeeper- perhaps I need a  push).

Weekday rides have started picking up steam, I have gotten back to good weekend rides since taking some time off to help  tend to my father’s illness and funeral, and I feel very strong in the saddle. As long as I continue to put in miles and get in a few longer (50+ miles) rides, I think I’ll be fine.

More important has been the fundraising. The outpouring of support since my father died of pancreatic cancer has been amazing, and I am well ahead of schedule compared to last year. However, I am still nearly $2,000 short of my goal, and need your help. If you can, please support my ride at If you can’t please spread the word to others who might be moved by the cause of beating cancer. As ever, 100% of funds raised goes to support the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

I leave you with a video mix of a couple of recent rides. I have been having trouble with the audio on my Kodak PlaySport, which seems to vibrate on the bike handlebars- my solution has been to find some music to play, and I think this piece does nicely (it’s “The Aftermath Never Adds Up” by Leaving Richmond). In future videos I will be experimenting with a ContourHD camera. I’ll be certain to let you know how that goes.

As always, thank you for supporting my ride against cancer, whether through money, words, or thoughts.


Kenneth Haslam: 1934-2011

Last Saturday (May 21), we said goodbye to my father, Kenneth Haslam, who passed away May 14 after fighting cancer for a year. My brothers and I eulogized him, as did several people in the congregation who spoke extemporaneously. A great tribute to a man I already miss. I would like to share my part of the eulogy here:

Before I add my own words about Dad, I wanted to acknowledge one of the new ways many of us communicate – Facebook – and just a few of the things our extended friends and family shared with us there

“It may sound cliche but your dad had a wonderful life. Thoughts and prayers for you and your family.”

“Your father obviously was a wonderful man to have raised you and getting all these awesome legacy posts.”

“May you find some laughter in the memories, amid the tears. Both are the measure of a good life and a loved man.”

“The testiment of ones life is measured by many deeds – but none more so than the love, support, confidence, sense of imagination, adventure, spirit, work ethic, respect, compassion & drive one instills in his family & friends around him. Having never met your father, but knowing you – I can say he was a great man.”

It took me more thinking than it should have to come up with my own words for Dad. I should bring up specific memories of father-son moments, a catch in the park, or some other bonding, but I’m going to leave that to my brothers John and Rob, who are much older than I am (tell me more about the 60s, brothers). What I keep coming back to instead are the things that live on in our Dad. The things he instilled in us, and we now carry with us. I can sum that up in three words:

Family, Quiet and Funny.


It’s not just that he was father to five sons and very involved in our lives, or that he remained close to extended family like Aunt Cathy and Uncle Dave, Aunt Maggie, Vicky, and even across the pond with David and Lynn Cruickshank and the rest. It’s that he always had a keen sense of where he came from- which we also consider to be where we came from. The son of an Englishman and a Scotswoman (which in a past age would be considered a mixed-race family), we were always keenly aware of our Scottish roots in particular. There is no childhood memory of Dad without picturing him in the Clan MacPherson pipe band uniform, marching in some parade or at the Hopkinton fair–a constant visual and at times painfully loud musical reminder of our own Scottish heritage.

It’s no coincidence that Rob has long taken an interest in genealogy, that John, Rob and Bill all followed Dad into the pipe band (they had no sheet music for trombone so I stayed out of it). Nor did I give even a second thought to choosing Scotland as part of my first-ever overseas trip, being sure to visit family landmarks such as Stirling and Aberdeen while I was there, thanks to Lynn. I still want to get to Bolton, England where I expect the name “Haslam” to be greeted with round after round of free drinks, though it may just as likely be met with a shrug by the many other Haslams who I assume still live there. And that would be ok by me.


Dad was nothing if not quiet. If he got loud it was unusual, and we paid attention, but it would take a lot to get him riled up at home, which with 5 boys was a strange place to expect any quiet (I do distinctly remember a shoe flying by at one point, no doubt directed at one of my noisier brothers ;)). I want to distinguish, however, between quiet and shyness, something that took me much of my early life to figure out, but that I try to live by now. Dad was not solitary, a shrinking violet or agoraphobe. He was just quiet, he didn’t talk a lot or loudly. From him I learned the value of listening and observing, and eventually learned that not being loud was a virtue, and did not preclude being recognized as a valuable and active part of the community, in the neighborhood, in the church, in the band and elsewhere.

To some extent I think the five of us inherited that trait, though we all express (or don’t express it) in different ways. I’m glad I learned to accept being quiet as an attribute.


I saved my favorite for last– Dad’s sense of humor. We all inherited his warped sense of comedy, much to the annoyance of our spouses (well, I can speak for myself). But pair an ability to find things around him funny with Dad’s quiet nature and you get small outbursts of what I think is the most brilliant comedy there is. Where did it come from? It might be 6:15 am on a school day and Dad simply standing in our door way saying “Get out of bed!” in his trademark drone. Was it his preference for British comedies? It was Dad, after all, who turned us on to the likes of Monty Python, Fawlty Towers and the Goodies– intelligent yet obscure and silly humor that makes me see what made Dad tick.

Dad’s sense of humor was offbeat, and I loved it.

Perhaps the essence of Dad’s humor was the ability to burst any balloon by seeing the absurdity of any situation and either meeting it with a deadpan comment or shutting it down with blunt common sense. He has the ability to deconstruct any situation without offending anyone. Even near the end, our dear friend Emily Leavitt, who helped Dad and Mom so much when he needed in-home care, did not escape. She sent us a transcript of their exchange, but I can’t do it justice. Suffice to say that Dad’s ever-evolving requests for coffee resulted in more laughter than sadness for us.

Is dad gone? No. He passed his best traits down to his imperfect copies. We’re here.


It has been a tremendously tough year for our families, with my wife and now me losing our fathers to cancer. This has made this year’s Pan-Mass Challenge ride all the more meaningful. I look forward to riding in August, and am still accepting sponsorship donations in any amount at 100% of all donations go to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Thanks to all of you who have and continue to support me!

Pan-Mass Challenge- 1st Training Ride, 2011

April is a tough month for getting ready for my annual ride in the Pan Mass Challenge (this will be my 4th), but it is also a great month. Tough, because the weather and sunlight hours make it difficult to get out as much as I would like (I’m not one of those winter die-hards, admittedly). Last year, I got out a mere four times in April, and this year promises to be the same. Great, because the promise of spring, warmer weather and the summer that follows filled with some great training rides, capped by the Pan-Mass Challenge in August.

Last Sunday, I managed to get out on my first ride of the season. I joined a Sunday group that I rode with several times last year, a group that has a bunch of hardy members who began riding in early March. Less important but still nice, a number of them also plan to ride the Pan-Mass Challenge against cancer this year. I took a little video, some of which is below.

One thing about riding with an established group is that you go along with them, even when it means going 42 miles in your first ride (I typically start the season with 20-30 mile rides before stretching it out in May). I was pleased with how the ride went and how I felt afterwards. I credit a winter of spin classes by my friend Liz Page with beating me into shape.

PMC Fundraising: Beating Cancer

While physically preparing for the PMC is hard work, the real challenge is in the fundraising. Fortunately, I have a lot of good friends who have stepped in early, and as I write this have helped me raise $1,400 towards my $6,300 goal.

100% of the funds raised goes to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, and while it is tough to see close ones suffer from cancer (including my father and my wife’s late father), I feel that each successive generation has better treatment options thanks to events like the PMC.

Will you join my friends by helping support my ride? To do so, please go to

Thank you!

And, the promised video. It is difficult to add new things after four years, but I’ll try– and if anyone has requests for things they would like to see in one of my ride videos, please say do in the comments:

PMC 2011 First Training Ride 2011 from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

Pan-Mass Challenge 2011: This Time it’s Personal

It’s official; I have signed up to ride the 2011 Pan Mass Challenge, a two-day ride to benefit the Dan Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. This will be my 4th year riding. In the past I have simply stated I like to ride and this is a good cause. I don’t like to be part of the story or pull heart strings…

PMC2010 doughaslam kent mitch steve

2010 PMC

However, this year is different. In September, we lost my wife’s father after his long fight with cancer, and since last spring, my father has been fighting cancer as well.

So, this year, my appeal for help is a little more personal. I still enjoy riding, and the PMC is an impressively well-run event, but if the money I help raise means people will get better and better treatment- and perhaps, even helps find a cure- I am more focused on that than ever.

Me! PMC 2009 doughaslam

2009 PMC

People have been generous the last few years, and it comes time for me to ask again– please help by sponsoring my ride- 100% of the funds go directly to Dana Farber– not to administration, salaries or anything but straight to cancer treatment and cure. To sponsor my ride, please got to – and Thank You!

PMC 2008: Wally and Me

2008 PMC

Pan-Mass Challenge: 3-Year Fundraising Review & Thoughts on Doing Good, Well

For the last three years, I have raised money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston as one of 5,000 riders in the Pan-Mass Challenge. Due to the fact that many people in my city (Newton, MA) also ride the PMC, and the fact that I do a lot of online social networking for fun and for work, I have conducted the bulk of my fundraising online.

While raising money to combat a disease that has affected most of us in some way is an experience fueled by emotions, I thought I would take a more clinical look at how I used social networks for fundraising.

First, a look at the numbers. As you can see, fundraising totals have risen each year:

Meanwhile, the number of donors each year has increased as well:

As has the average donation:

Importantly, repeat donors- and the percentage of those repeating- has gone up each year.

So how has my fundraising been increasingly successful, despite a lingering recession and competition from other cause-related fundraisers?

Social Networks Have Increased Exponentially

When I first rode the PMC in 2008, I was approaching 4,000 followers on Twitter. That was not bad at the time for the young service, but that number is over 25,000 now, and the reach of my appeals has increased correspondingly.

My Facebook network is much more modest. Also, in 2008 I don;t think I had many Facebook friends who were not also on Twitter. By 2009 that had changed drastically, as high school and college classmates, as well as family members and other friends, streamed onto Facebook. Starting with that second year I felt I was reaching  different crowd.

My use of social networks to raise money in the first place was born from the fact that hundreds of people from my home city, Newton, MA, ride the PMC. I knew I couldn’t count on neighbors alone to raise the minimum amount. Plus, my work as it related to social media meant that I should experiment as much as possible to see what works.

Media Helps

Early on, I recognized that using video would help make my fundraising appeal more entertaining. So, I found ways to attach video camera to my bike and took training videos to share with my friends.

Here’s an early one, from 2008:

Personal Touches Help

One thing I made sure to do was to keep things personal- always thank people as I should, respecting privacy but doing so publicly as appropriate. In year 2 (2009), I asked permission to profile sponsors, in a series that created a bit of interest (or at least some appreciation).

Also, I found it important to send hand-written thank you notes. I cannot tell you how gratifying it is to see people remark how pleased they are to receive notes. I overcame a little shyness to include a picture of myself from the ride in each note- to bring a little bit of the event, and proof I participated- to the people who opened their checkbooks for me and the PMC. Also, I hope it inspires others to remember these traditional, offline methods of giving thanks.

Edit: Adding a photo to emphasize the point that visual media help draw attention to your most important content.

Photo by Adam Cohen

In the end, I believe that creating goodwill, while being insistent and not forgetting to ask for the donation (and not being afraid to do it frequently), has been important. That’s pretty old-fashioned, but coupled with the increased reach that social networks afford, it creates a pretty effective way to do good.

Pan-Mass Challenge 2010: Rider’s-Eye Video

As I do every year, I took some rider’s eye video of my Pan-Mass Challenge ride, and include my excerpts below.

Day 1 took me from Newton, MA to the Wellesley start, and down to the Mass Maritime Academy at Bourne. Day 2 took us from Bourne, MA (and a little spill on the Bourne Bridge) all the way around Cape Cod to the finish at Provincetown. .

This is my third PMC and the scope, organization and meaning of the event still strike me. More than 5,000 people cycling against cancer (and yes, keeping ourselves in good health to boot), along with 3,000+ volunteers makes for something rare– a once-on-a-lifetime experience that we can have every year!

The PMC was especially meaningful this year in ways that I have not publicized- let’s just say everybody knows someone who has been touched by cancer, and the closer we come to better treatments and cures, the better for all of us.

If you would like to sponsor my ride, the page is still open! Please go to

A huge thank you, to those who have supported me and those who will.


Pan-Mass Challenge 2010: Day 1 from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

Pan-Mass Challenge 2010: Day 2 from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

Pan-Mass Challenge– Thank You!

Yesterday (Aug 8), I finished my third Pan-Mass Challenge, riding 170 miles in 2 days, and raising money (thanks to many of you) to benefit the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.

This event means a lot to me, not only because I love cycling and it was a great way to get to a higher level of riding, but because the event benefits a cause that has (unfortunately) become very meaningful to me and many of you who support me- the fight against cancer- and I feel it is making a difference.

This year, I was able to come close to “Heavy Hitter” level in fundraising- $6,300, thanks to many of you being so generous. I’m only $200 away, and the site to sponsor me is at if you would like to help.

As for the ride itself, I felt good and the riding was good, though I was tired and sore after- more so than last year. The route is beautiful, as always, and I will have some video edited down in the near future. For now, I have some photos (I promised myself I would take a few more this year):

I also have a couple of raw pieces of video. The first, from my first ever fall/crash- a low-speed oopsy on the Bourne Bridge Sunday morning (no cyclists were harmed in the filming of this video):

Pan-Mass Challenge; Bourne Bridge Fall from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

…and a rider’s POV of the finish line at the Provincetown Inn.

Pan-Mass Challenge: Provincetown Finish 2010 from Doug Haslam on Vimeo.

Again, thanks to everyone for supporting me. I definitely want to go for my 4th PMC next year!