It was an emotional day for James Korzec. The seventeen year cancer survivor, surrounded by family, friends and hundreds of community members, led the charge as the 11th Annual Walk of Champions stepped off on Sunday, May 1st. A patient of Dr. Chandravathi Loke, Hematologist/Oncologist, James noted how supported he felt and he asked for a moment of silence for all those, like him touched by cancer, and for all those who lost their battle with cancer in the past year. The Walk of Champions continues to be both an uplifting and a very emotional day for me and my family,” said Korzec. “Cancer survivors gain strength from the love and support of everyone involved.”
The Walk of Champions’ participants are inspired by the strength and courage of the survivors and show it by their continued support. The 2016 Walk of Champions held at the Quabbin Reservoir raised $79,550 to date as hundreds of walkers joined in this special event supporting those facing cancer and the cancer services provided at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital.
“The Walk of Champions continues to be a time when our communities join together in a moving tribute to those touched by cancer, and I am deeply humbled and greatly appreciative of the continued commitment and generosity of all who support this event,” said Michael F. Moran, President and Chief Administrative Officer for Baystate Health’s Eastern Region. “Baystate Mary Lane provides the majority of outpatient cancer services in the Baystate Health Eastern Region, including Ware, Palmer and surrounding communities. Because of this ongoing generosity and support, we are able to continue to offer care in a patient-centered environment, with the expertise of our medical staff from the Baystate Regional Cancer Program, right here in Ware.”
On the event’s 10th Anniversary in 2015, the walk raised $93,500. Since 2006 the Walk of Champions has raised over $743,000. All funds raised remain local to support cancer care provided at Baystate Mary Lane by the Baystate Regional Cancer Program.
“Our staff and the community are indeed a wonderful group and I feel quite privileged to be a part of it,” said Dr. Chandravathi Loke, Hematologist/Oncologist, noting that the funds raised by the Walk of Champions help to provide family support counseling, educational outreach, pastoral care, medications, state-of-the-art equipment, and the Healing Garden located in the courtyard of the hospital.
Dr. Loke joins Dr. Jonathan Marsh, Hematologist/Oncologist and Dr. Richard Steingart, Hematologist, all of whom are with the Baystate Regional Cancer Program's Eastern Region, to offer cancer treatment specifically tailored to meet each patient’s individual needs. They and the cancer-care team that provide care at Baystate Mary Lane are sensitive to the unique challenges that each patient and family may face during their cancer journey. Together they
provide both clinical expertise and exceptional personal support so patients can be surrounded by the familiar comforts of their community and the support of their family and friends.
“We are grateful to the many area businesses that sponsor our walk and to each and every walker who participates in the Walk of Champions,” said Moran. “Thank you to our presenting sponsor, Country Bank as well as major sponsors Heath New England, Intercity Lines, Inc. and Pioneer Provisions, and to all the walkers who contributed immeasurably to the success of the Walk of Champions.”
For more information about the Walk of Champions, or to find out how you can become involved, call Michelle Graci, Manager of Fund Raising Events, Baystate Health Foundation at (413) 794-7654 or by e-mail at Michelle.Graci@baystatehealth.org.