It’s never too early for teams and individual participants to begin their fundraising efforts for the annual Rays of Hope – A Walk and Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer, which will step off in Springfield on Sunday, Oct. 25.
Michelle Shattuck, event chair, Rays of Hope, noted the time is now to start “RAYSing for Rays.”
“As a two-time breast cancer survivor, I can attest to the fact that breast cancer affects people, not just in October, but 365 days a year. The funds we raise are here to help local survivors and their families each and every one of those 365 days. Join us by 'walking the walk' prior to October 25th by beginning your fundraising efforts now. It's never too early to be a Ray of Hope,” she said.
There is still plenty of time to register online for the 22nd annual breast cancer event at www.baystatehealth.org/raysofhope, using the new easier-to-use online registration where participants can also create their own personal webpage to assist them in their fundraising efforts.
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.
The 6th Annual Run Toward the Cure 8K has some exciting new features - it is now a timed event with the start time moved up from previous years. This year the run is timed by Accu Spec and will start at 8:30 a.m. to accommodate the growing number of participants.
Large tents, pink balloons, music, colorful flags and a festive, hopeful atmosphere will welcome participants at this year’s annual Rays of Hope. Breast cancer survivors 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.
Since its inception in 1994 by Lucy Giuggio Carvalho, Rays of Hope, the most successful fundraising walk and run in western Massachusetts for breast cancer, has grown from 500 participants raising $50,000 to some 24,000 participants comprising some 600 teams raising a to-date total of over $12.4 million.
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.
Those who want to support the Rays of Hope, but are unable to due to other commitments, can sign up as a “virtual” participant. They can choose their own method of participation – walk, run, bowl, swim and more – anytime during the month of October to get in five miles, while raising donations similar to other Rays of Hope participants.
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.