Connecticut men to bike a few hundred miles as part of cancer ride

Frank Catania and Rocco Sanzo hope to bike nearly 400 miles to raise money for cancer research. (WFSB photo)

A couple of Connecticut men said they're trying to go beyond a Pan-Mass Challenge to raise money for cancer research.

Frank Catania and Rocco Sanzo said they both got into biking as adults.

Now, they said they have a new definition for a "short ride."

"A short ride is usually 25 to 30 miles," Sanzo said. "So we just try to keep up and endure."

They also have a new purpose for getting in the saddle.

"The amount of torture you put yourself through [the] suffering is minimal compared to what people dealing with cancer are going through," Catania said.

Last year, Catania said he discovered the Pan-Mass Challenge. It's a two-day 192 mile ride from Sturbridge, MA to Provincetown, MA.

He called the experience life-changing.

"So many people thanking you for riding, I'm like 'thanking me for riding?' Catania said. "It was just crazy that they're thanking me."

The challenge raises money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. It helped take in $45 million last year alone.

Catania said he powered through it last year in memory of his mother, who passed away in 2003.

This year, Sanzo said he'll be going along this August.

He said he's riding for three family members who are battling cancer: his father, his father-in-law and his niece.

His niece has been battling brain cancer for years.

On a recent tough ride, Sanzo and Catania said they were who powered them through.

"I literally almost quit, but then they pop in your mind and you're like 'ok, they're not quitting,' Sanzo said. "You just have to find it within yourself to keep going."

Knowing nearly every family has faced the scourge of cancer, Sanzo and Catania said they're extending the challenge even further.

If they reach their online fundraising goals, they'll start their ride not from Sturbridge but from Rocky Hill, CT. From home, they'll ride 96 miles to Lenox, MA.

Then, they'll ride to the New York border and another 108 extra miles to Sturbridge, just to join the start of the Pan-Mass challenge.

It would make a 396 mile ride, just to take a tiny step forward in the fight against cancer.

The have a few months to reach their fundraising goal. Catania's page can be found here. Sanzo's is here.

Copyright 2016 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.


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