There was a moment, a few years ago – about 25 miles into Katelynn’s Ride – when Dr. Matt Richardson felt his energy ebb.
“It was early June, and we were riding through the farm fields of Hadley,” he remembers. “The wind was blowing. The rain was hitting us sideways. It was cold.”
He kept going – for the same reason he always keeps going.
“My thoughts went to a patient I’d just seen in the hospital, a young girl whose cancer had relapsed. She was about to start another round of treatment. And I thought, if we’re asking her to do that, I can do this.”
Tying it all together for families
Every day, as chief of hematology and oncology at Baystate Children’s Hospital, Richardson witnesses the impact of dollars raised by participants in the event affectionately known as “K-Ride,” which was held for 17 years in memory of another brave young girl who battled cancer.
Katelynn’s Ride – organized by the same core group of volunteers for 17 years – concluded in June 2017, raising more than $2 million over the course of the event. For several years, Richardson and other pediatric oncology team members joined the K-Ride team – raising funds and, just as importantly, expressing their gratitude.
“The care of a child with cancer is incredibly complex, with so many interdisciplinary services to coordinate – from radiology to surgery to chemotherapy and pharmacy resources,” Richardson explains.
“K-Ride funds allowed us to add a nurse practitioner to our team – an experienced clinician whose mission is to tie it all together for families and be their go-to person for questions.”
Care that only philanthropy can deliver
“Our care coordinator manages all of the intersecting elements of a child’s care,” he continues, “from participation in clinical trials to the precise planning that allows us to administer just enough anesthesia – at exactly the right time – to help a very small child stay still long enough to take an accurate MRI.”
“This service is made possible only through a combination of hospital resources and philanthropic support,” Richardson adds. “Insurance pays for the drug, the blood test, and the bed – but not the time that children and families need to have someone coordinate their care. Through Katelynn’s Ride, our community came together to do that.”
Learn more about how you can support initiatives like Katelynn's Ride through Baystate Health Foundation.