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Rays of Hope - Walk and Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer to step off on Oct. 30

October 16, 2016

There is still time for teams and individual participants to begin their fundraising efforts for the 23rd annual Rays of Hope – Walk and Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer, which steps off in Springfield on Sunday, Oct. 30.

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

Using the simple and convenient registration at www.baystatehealth.org/raysofhope, participants can create their own personal webpage to assist them in their fundraising efforts. Participants must raise at least $50 to receive the collectible Rays of Hope t-shirt and anyone who raises $1,000 or more online will become a Rays of Hope BIG Wig. The special designation carries with it added benefits, including a Rays of Hope BIG Wig t-shirt proclaiming their huge fundraising skills, swag bag and more.

 Now is the time to raise funds

“If you have not already started your fundraising efforts, it’s time to make your move. For those who find it difficult to ask people for money – remember why we do this. The worst someone can say is no and then you smile and move on,” said Midje Theulen, new Rays of Hope chair.

“As a breast cancer survivor, it is heartwarming to know there are so many women, men and children who feel the same way about the Rays of Hope as I do. Through your selfless devotion to this well-recognized and respected organization we are waging our own local battle against breast cancer,” she added.

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. Parking is located at various lots nearby with buses shuttling participants to Temple Beth El for the walk. Buses start running at 8:30 a.m. for walkers. Parking information can be found on the Rays of Hope website.

The 7th Annual Run Toward the Cure 8K is timed by Accu Spec and will start at 8:30 a.m. to accommodate the growing number of participants. Parking for runners is only at the Lenox (formerly American Saw) lot in East Longmeadow at 301 Chestnut St. Buses start running at 7:30 a.m. for runners.

A festive, hopeful atmosphere

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 decorated by McClelland’s Florist, where they will be welcomed with special gifts, followed by the 2016 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 new Rays of Hope apparel for women and men, water bottles, small backpacks 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 $13 million.

All monies raised remain local and administered by the Baystate Health Foundation to assist patients and their families affected by breast cancer. Funds support 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, and provides grants to various community programs throughout western Massachusetts.

 Become a "virtual" participant

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, 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 baystatehealth.org/raysofhope.