When it comes to successful fundraising for Rays of Hope, team captain Suzanne St. Germain of Wiggins Warriors says it is not just about raising dollars in October leading up to the walk and run on Oct. 25.
“Our Wiggins Warriors team raises funds all year, that way there is no pressure once the walk and run come around in October,” said St. Germain.
While there is still time to register for the 22nd annual Rays of Hope – A Walk and Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer, it is less than a month away and getting closer.
You can begin your fundraising, and register online at the same time, at www.baystatehealth.org/raysofhope, where you can also create your own personal webpage to assist in your fundraising efforts.
In addition to asking your friends, family and co-workers to support your fundraising efforts for Rays of Hope, there are other things you can do to generate additional funds to meet your goal. St. Germain offers some tips on how her team fundraises all year long, some of which you still may be able to try before this year’s event. Among her suggestions are:
• Craft easy-to-make pink ribbon pins and sell them for $1. “We sold them at work to be worn during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October,” said St. Germain. Also, with the support of your employer, organize a dress-down day each Friday in October, where workers pay $1 to participate. “Every dollar counts and it adds up quickly,” added the team captain of Wiggins Warriors.
• Plan a neighborhood tag sale and invite all of your neighbors. Be sure to have a sign that states all proceeds are donated to the Rays of Hope, information which motivates both sellers and buyers to be more generous, noted St. Germain. Involve children by having them clear out their toy boxes or have them staff a beverage stand selling lemonade, soda, or even water for just $1. If anyone is a baker, add a table of homemade goodies, which always brings a smile and a purchase. Bins of books are also a hit among shoppers.
• Consider organizing a church bazaar or holiday craft fair. Enlist the assistance of your team members. Everyone has a talent or favorite hobby, which you can help to shine by holding a fair. Whether it is sewing, knitting, baking, painting, drawing or being crafty – you can “display it and sell it.” “Plus it’s fun to get together and work as a team for a common goal,” said St. Germain.
• “We gathered our favorite recipes from family members, friends and co-workers,” said St. Germain. The result was two cookbooks which became much sought-after items for sale. You can combine the cookbooks with recipe items for a gift basket, which can also be used as a raffle gift to raise funds.
“Most of all, you need to have fun and know that all your efforts do make a difference,” said St. Germain, who credits her co-captains Tammy Laselle and Debbie Duncan for doing all the work.
This year’s annual walk and run are presented by Health New England.
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 run steps off earlier this year at 8:30 a.m. followed by the walk at 10:30 a.m.
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.
Those who want to support the Rays of Hope, but are unable to due to other commitments, can sign up as a “virtual” participant. Choose your 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.