Salve Success: Nolun Pina ’25 biked 200 miles for cancer
Nolun Pina ’25, a financial management major and member of the men’s soccer team, is a dedicated student-athlete who balances his academics while managing to bike hundreds of miles across Massachusetts in honor of those who have battled cancer.
Involved on Salve Regina’s campus
Ever since he can remember, Nolun Pina played soccer in his hometown of Marshfield, Massachusetts. When he reached the end of his high school career, Pina knew he wanted to continue playing in college. After hearing from the men’s soccer team, Pina looked into Salve Regina and knew it was the right fit for him.
Not only does Pina love the location near both the water and the downtown streets of Newport, but he loves having the opportunity to play soccer with a great supportive system of teammates and coaches.
“I’m proud to be a member of the team, because the players hold themselves to a high standard — not only on the field, but on campus and in the classroom as well,” says Pina. “It’s also great to have such overwhelming support from family members and students.”
As Salve Regina celebrates its 75th anniversary, Pina is excited for Salve Regina’s recent change in to New England Women’s and Men’s Athletic Conference (NEWMAC) — which he believes will bring a new level of competition to the soccer team.
Off the soccer field, Pina is a financial management major, member of the entrepreneurship reading club and a work study student in IT. In his classes, Pina enjoys learning content to help him succeed in his future career and the support of Paul McKillop, senior lecturer of business and economics.
“Professor McKillop is helpful in my accounting-based courses and goes to all of our soccer games,” explained Pina. “It is nice that I have him in the classroom and on the field.”
One of his favorite memories so far at Salve Regina is when Professor McKillop took Pina and a small group of students to International House of Pancakes for breakfast.
Biking to raise money for cancer
Outside of the classroom and soccer field, Pina’s greatest accomplishment is completing the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC) in the summer of 2022. The Pan-Mass Challenge is an annual bike-a-thon that raises money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
Pina and his dad began biking three years ago when their family friend, 10-year-old Linley Menard, passed away from a cancerous brain tumor. In young Menard’s honor, Pina started biking from his house to her house, which is around a 50-mile route.
This then influenced him to sign up for the Pan-Mass Challenge. Due to the pandemic, the PMC Reimagined Ride was created in 2021, which allowed Pina to create his own biking route. In the summer of 2021, Pina rode 70 miles in Menard’s hometown.
Pina kept his promise to keep honoring Menard and signed up to ride the full 200-mile PMC in 2022. From Sturbridge to Provincetown, Massachusetts, Pina rode 200 miles in two days. Along the journey, there were water stop services, roadside assistance and lodging accommodations.
“It was honestly a surreal experience,” reflected Pina. “There were many times during the whole weekend where I did not think I was going to be able to finish.”
The weekend was rated among the top three hottest weekends of the Pan-Mass Challenge, making the ride difficult for Pina and the other riders. However, Pina kept Menard in mind the whole time and finished the bike ride on the second day.
Pina fundraised $6,000, which will go directly to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Friends family, and support from his hometown helped him reach his fundraising goal.
As Pina looks towards the future, he wants to continue raising awareness for cancer and help fundraise towards charities like Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
On Salve Regina’s campus, Pina wants to spread the word of the Pan-Mass Challenge to hopefully encourage others to participate. He hopes to one day reach out to Bike Newport, an organization that provides programs and resources for bicyclists to collaborate on an event.
Article written by student writer Morgan Rizzo ’23
Salve Success is a series of student success stories periodically featured on SALVEtoday. Check out the tag Salve Success for more stories.