It’s A Hit: Alum Cycles For Cancer Research

Wind rushed into the phone. “Um, I’m actually on the highway right now. Give me a minute to find a spot to stop,” Charlie Hamilton ’86 said, huffing slightly. In ten days, Hamilton, 40, will throw the first pitch in the Yankee/Red Sox game at Fenway – “right into the Yankee dugout,” the diehard Red Sox fan jokes. Accompanying him will be 16-year-old Eric Donovan, a cancer patient being treated in the Boston area. The big game is only ten days – and a thousand miles or so – away. For the past six months, Hamilton has been on his bike, riding to all 30 major league ballparks on the continent and watching a game at each. Combine his two favorite things, riding and baseball, throw in a cancer charity on the side, and you’ve got “Hit for the Cycle,” Hamilton’s charitable adventure. A casual question proposed by Hamilton’s wife, Molly, initially prompted the idea for the trip. “If you could do anything with your life, what would you do?” the artist and freelance graphic designer asked. Thus, Hamilton conceived the trip on the basis of adventure and afterward thought to involve charity. The best-organized group he came across was the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and he decided to raise money for the Jimmy Fund, the Institute’s charity branch. He is doing so as a “virtual rider” for the Pan-Mass Challenge, the biggest charity bike ride in the country – a “fantastic outfit,” as Hamilton describes it, which has already raised 15 million dollars this year. “Basically, I’m trying to scrounge up money for them. I’ve set up a link on my website [] so that people can donate online,” Hamilton says. His goal is $125,000 and he has raised $11,000 already. “When I get back to Boston, I’ll work more on the publicity part,” he assures. “It’s supposed to be a big deal, with reporters and camera crews.” From the sound of things, Hamilton will have no trouble reaching his goal. As the end of Hamilton’s adventure approaches, he looks forward to the reunion with his wife and dog. He has seen his wife only three times in the past six months, and right now, the thought of being with her what is keeping him going. Hamilton left his job as a software engineer in Bolton, MA in order to pursue his charitable cycling and is not yet sure about career plans for the future. “Honestly, after being on my bike for six months, I can’t really see myself sitting in an office all day,” he says. Right now, however, Hamilton has too much going on in his life to thoroughly contemplate the future. Aside from the much-anticipated pitch at the final ballgame, Hamilton has surely garnered a few new claims to fame as a result of his project – an added bonus. At the Dodgers’ stadium, there was an on-field announcement about Hamilton. Hamilton was featured in a Fox Sports Net Video and on the Cold Pizza Show, a morning show on ESPN 2 , where Tom Brokaw appeared. Hamilton also had the opportunity to talk with Mark Grace in Arizona. “Everyone loves him in Chicago, so that was pretty cool. And I got to see his World Series ring,” Hamilton remembers. Upon his return to Boston, this list will most likely expand. At Colgate, Hamilton was not really even into cycling. In fact, his passion for riding resulted from an injury obtained in a motorcycle accident on a trip to Colgate. He hit a deer and wiped out his knee. Cycling was the only thing that wouldn’t aggravate the injury, and thus began the hobby. Hamilton participated in a bike tour of Scotland years ago, “which gave me the bug,” he says. As far as Hamilton’s participation in outreach at Colgate, he did considerable charity work with his fraternity. He recalls a charity race called the “Run and Chug,” in which one would run four miles, stopping every mile to chug a beer. When asked to offer some words of wisdom, Hamilton laughed modestly. “I don’t know if these are words of wisdom or just random rambling,” he jokes. “I’ve talked to a million people on this trip, and everyone says, ‘How can you do this? I can’t even bike a mile.’ A lot of people don’t even try it. For me, I really enjoy being on the bike; it gives me time to think and to get away from a lot of stuff. It’s healthy and a great way to see country, too, if you decide to get into bicycling touring.” In order to donate to the cause, either visit Hamilton’s aforementioned website, or send a check made out to PMC, Jimmy Fund or PFCI, addressed to Charles Hamilton, 25355-6, PMC, 77 Fourth Avenue, Needham, MA 02494. Hamilton suggests donating the equivalent of one cent per mile, which would total around $110. On September 26, tune into the climactic Yankee/Red Sox game. And don’t miss Colgate’s own representing for the first pitch.