Submitted by the Pan-Mass Challenge
Malini Mayerhauser, 38, of North Grafton, is a former science teacher, a wife and best friend to her Boston University sweetheart, Jeff, 38, and a mother of two sports-enthusiastic and close-knit children, Aedan, 10, and Jake, 7. She is also battling her second diagnosis with anaplastic astrocytoma, a type of brain cancer, and is part of a clinical trial at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute involving a combination of oral chemotherapy treatments and Saha, a research drug that is being tested to treat various types of cancer.
On this Sunday, May 5, just a week before Mother’s Day, Aedan and Jake will ride in honor of their mother in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge (PMC) Shrewsbury-Grafton Kids Ride, as a part of Team Malini. The team will ride 20 young cyclists strong, raising money for adult and pediatric cancer care and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute through the Jimmy Fund.
The team was formed by Mayerhauser’s neighbor, Nancy Paulauskas, 40, of North Grafton. Paulauskas wanted to do something to support her friend and let her know that she was not in this fight alone. Paulauskas’ daughters, Taylor, 11, and Tori, 9, will also ride and raise money as part of the team.
“I met Malini the week after she moved into my neighborhood when our children were toddlers and we became instant friends, like sisters,” said Paulauskas. “She is an amazing person with an infectious personality who lights up the room when she smiles. Everything she does is for her husband and children. Right now, she is gearing up for the fight of her life and I want her to know that my family and the community are here to support her and her family as she endures this courageous battle for a second time.”
This Mother’s Day, Mayerhauser plans to spend the afternoon with her family creating another memory with the people who inspire her to continue fighting cancer the most. Having a father who succumbed to cancer, a mother who survived cancer, and two supportive young children, she is more determined than ever to win her second battle with anaplastic astrocytoma.
“Every time I hear about my boys participating in the PMC Shrewsbury-Grafton Kids Ride and Team Malini, I smile from ear to ear,” said Mayerhauser. “To have the support of my friends, family and community means the world to me. Even when I am sitting by myself during treatments, I know that I am not alone. Their strength has given me the power to stay positive and keep fighting. I am here because of them. I am here to be a friend, a wife, a sister, a daughter and, first and foremost, a mother.”
PMC Kids Rides are mini bike-a-thons that involve children ages 2 to 15 in the PMC mission by providing them the opportunity to fight back against cancer just like adults. They offer various courses, mileage, and features including music, food, silent auctions, and character appearances. The PMC Shrewsbury-Grafton Kids Ride is one of 38 rides that will take place throughout New England and beyond this spring, summer and fall.
The Shrewsbury-Grafton ride is still accepting riders. The bike-a-thon will be held 9 a.m. to noon Sunday, May 5, starting from the UMass South Street Campus, 333 South St., Shrewsbury. There is a $10 registration fee and a $25 fundraising minimum. Organizers are expecting 150 children riders.
To register, visit http://kids.pmc.org. For more information, call 508-962-3087.