Rays of Hope to step off on Sunday - Where to park, what to see and do

This year’s 22nd annual Rays of Hope – Walk and Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer is just days away on Oct. 25, when large tents, pink balloons, music, colorful flags and a festive, hopeful atmosphere will welcome thousands of participants – all of whom will need somewhere to park.

For walkers, free parking with shuttle service is available at locations near Temple Beth El, including in East Longmeadow at Lenox American Saw, East Longmeadow High School, as well as in Longmeadow at Blueberry Hill School and at Longmeadow High School, and at other locations found on the Rays of Hope website at www.baystatehealth.org/raysofhope.

Runners, who will be arriving earlier than others due to the new early start time, can only park at Lenox American Saw.

Handicapped parking is available at Temple Beth El with an official handicapped parking permit and/or license plate only.

Greenfield-area residents who wish to participate in this year’s annual Rays of Hope – Walk and Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer, can board the “Pink Party Bus” offering a complimentary ride to Springfield and back to Greenfield. Advance registration is required for the bus in order to ensure there are enough to accommodate those traveling to Springfield. Call 413-794-8001 or email raysofhope@baystatehealth.org to register today.

Participants are asked to refrain from parking on the side streets near the Temple in consideration of those who live in the surrounding neighborhoods, and to allow easy, safe access for all walkers and runners.

No pets, other than service dogs, are allowed at the event.

Also, breast cancer survivors attending the event will have their own special place to gather in the warm and comforting Pink Hope Lounge, where they will be welcomed with special gifts followed by the 2015 survivors’ photo at 10 a.m.

Local businesses, services, and breast cancer-related programs will offer a variety of information and giveaways under the event’s large exhibitor tent. The Rays of Hope Store will also be selling merchandise, including Rays of Hope apparel for women and men, water bottles, small backpacks, umbrellas and more.

As in past years, the event begins at Temple Beth El on Dickinson Street with a two- or five-mile route for the walk along with the 8K run. Registration for the run begins at 7:30 a.m., while registration for the walk begins at 9 a.m.

This year's annual walk and run are presented by Health New England.

Since 1994, Rays of Hope has raised over $12.4 million, with all monies remaining local and administered by the Baystate Health Foundation to assist patients and their families affected by breast cancer. Over the years, funds have supported the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research, as well as treatment, breast health programs, outreach and education, and the purchase of state-of-the art equipment through the Baystate Health Breast Network, including Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, and various community programs throughout western Massachusetts.

This year’s Rays of Hope major sponsors are Health New England, Gale Toyota, Baystate Breast & Wellness Center, Baystate Breast Specialists, Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation, Kinsley Power Systems, Radiology & Imaging, and Zasco Productions. A listing of all sponsors can be found on the Rays of Hope website.

For more information about this year’s Rays of Hope Walk and 8K Run, held rain or shine, call 413-794-8001 or visit www.baystatehealth.org/raysofhope.