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Gary Sheehan gears up for Pan-Mass Challenge

Gary Sheehan gears up for Pan-Mass Challenge Provider has put ‘KE’ on bike in memory of Karyn Estrella

SANDWICH, Mass. - During the months of June and July, provider Gary Sheehan put 700 miles on his bike in preparation for this year's Pan-Mass Challenge, a fundraiser for research and treatment at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Sheehan, president and CEO of Sandwich, Mass.-based Cape Medical Supply is himself a survivor of Hodgkin's lymphoma and has lost loved ones, including his father Mark, to cancer.

“It's a special weekend for survivors and people impacted by cancer, which is pretty much everybody,” he said of the Aug. 3-4 bike-a-thon. “From opening night to people on the side of the road yelling 'thank you,' everyone has a heart-wrenching story of why do you ride?”

Sheehan, who will bike the 192-mile route from Sturbridge in central Massachusetts to Provincetown at the far tip of Cape Cod as part of the Boston Bruins Foundation team, has raised more than $7,000 toward his goal of $10,000. Overall, this year's race is expected to raise $60 million. He spoke with HME News recently about the upcoming race—his fifth.

HME News: This is a grueling bike ride. How do you manage the training?

Gary Sheehan: There's never enough time to find time to train. You have to get up early in the morning and get out there. The first day of the race is 111 miles and that's just long—it doesn't matter how much you prepare.

HME: As an HME provider, why is this ride so important to you?

Sheehan: HME is central to caring for cancer patients, particularly at the end of life when people want to be at home, surrounded by loved ones. Without a robust, well-funded HME community, that's not really possible. I'm proud of the role our company has historically played, and of the peers and colleagues all across the U.S. for the work they do for these people.

HME: The industry recently lost Karyn Estrella to pancreatic cancer and you have a reminder of her on your bike.

Sheehan: My first ride after I put her initials on my bike, I crashed for the first time ever—we didn't get off to a good start. But now, on those long hot training days, when I'm struggling up a hill, I'll look down and see that purple “KE” and it reminds me of Karyn and the better days we had together. I feel like she's riding with me.


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