Hayes Family Tradition
BostonBruins.com -- Every member of the Boston Bruins Foundation bike team had their own personal reasons for participating in the 33rd annual Pan Massachusetts Challenge this past weekend.
But many on the team united as a whole for the fight against cancer with one name in particular in mind: Jeff Hayes.
“My son Jeff,” said Susan Hayes from their station on the bike route on Sunday morning. “They rode for him the first year and ever since then they’ve been still coming.”
Jeff was paired with the Boston Bruins Foundation PMC team in 2006 as their pedal partner. He was a Sandwich High School hockey player who lost his battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma in 2007.
Since the Hayes’ first year with the team in 2006, it has become a tradition for the riders to stop along the route on the second day of riding for a water break and a quick chance to reconnect with Jeff’s family and friends.
“We get here when it’s dark and we wait for the riders and we just cheer them on and it’s just wonderful,” said Susan, wearing a yellow Bruins bike jersey that she wore in the 2007 PMC. “We thank them for riding and they thank us for coming, we cheer them. It’s a really warm feeling to have them ride for this great cause and we love it.”
This year, the riders took a pause from the race to have a moment of prayer in memory of Jeff.
“Coming here is wonderful,” said Susan Hayes. “Seeing them and giving each one of them a hug, and blessing the team – you can’t beat it, it’s wonderful.”
After a few words from mom, the riders were off with Jeff in mind hoping to finish strong in the last leg of the journey.
“I’ve got to tell you Brian Hayes [no relation] rode like a man-possessed coming in to Provincetown,” said Jack Edwards of B's long-time PMC rider. “And I had to think that Brian was riding thinking about Jeff, because he was doing things that really didn’t seem possible given the level of fatigue…He was so determined that it was really heroic.
“He pulled the whole team up about two miles-an-hour faster than we wanted to go, but he took the entire effort by himself. We were just hanging on to his wheel.”