WARE — On Sunday, May 1, the community is invited to come together at the Quabbin Reservoir to mark the 11th annual Walk of Champions to benefit the Baystate Regional Cancer Program at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware.
The Walk of Champions, founded in 2006 by John O’Neill, field-hockey coach at Quaboag Regional Middle High School, began as a tribute to the compassionate care and comfort his mother received during her struggle with cancer. Since then, the Walk of Champions has grown into a collection of teams and individuals each walking for their own reason. There are friends and family members celebrating victory over cancer. Others are encouraging their loved ones in their personal fight over cancer, while others walk in memory of those who have lost their battle with cancer.
The walk is a one-mile loop that allows walkers to choose the number of miles they complete among the comfortable walking terrain of the Goodnough Dike. Along the way, walkers will enjoy entertainment and refreshments, along with the peace and beauty of the Quabbin Reservoir.
Since its inception, the Walk of Champions has raised more than $662,000. All funds raised remain local to support those cared for in the Baystate Health Eastern Region at Baystate Medical Center’s Mary Lane Satellite Unit and for things such as family-support counseling, educational outreach, pastoral care, medications, state-of-the-art equipment, and the Healing Garden located in the courtyard of the hospital. Overlooking the Healing Garden is the oncology suite, which provides access to comprehensive cancer care, clinical trials, and a multi-disciplinary team approach to cancer care.
Pledge forms, fund-raising resources, giving opportunities, and more are available at www.baystatehealth.org/woc for businesses, community organizations, and individuals who wish to participate.