SPRINGFIELD — Rays of Hope is putting a call out for walkers and runners who have the power to bring hope to family, friends, and neighbors fighting breast cancer through their participation in the 24th annual Rays of Hope Walk & Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer.
This year’s annual fund-raiser — presented by Health New England — is set to step off on Sunday, Oct. 22 from Temple Beth El on Dickinson Street in Springfield and wind through and around Forest Park. The eighth annual Run Toward the Cure 8K is coordinated by Fleet Feet and timed by Accu Spec.
“Don’t wait until the last minute,” said Midje Theulen, Rays of Hope chair. “It’s never too early for teams and individual participants to begin their fund-raising efforts. Beyond the importance of raising dollars to help care for patients, education, and research, we have an extra incentive to set your goal even higher this year.”
The Rays of Hope BIG WIG program offers special status to those raising $1,000 or more online only by credit card. Rays of Hope BIG WIGS will have their own registration area at the event, as well as other perks depending on which level they achieve. Among the many BIG WIG perks will be a hat with a 2017 pin, a swag bag, access to premium restrooms, a parking spot in the VIP lot, invitation onto the main stage, a photo op with Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno and Rays of Hope founder Lucy Giuggio Carvalho, as well as free coffee, donuts, and breakfast bars.
Using the online registration at www.baystatehealth.org/raysofhope, BIG WIG and other participants can create their own personal webpages to assist them in their fund-raising efforts. Participants must raise at least $50 to receive the collectible Rays of Hope T-shirt.
Since its inception in 1994, Rays of Hope has grown from 500 participants raising $50,000 to some 24,000 participants comprising some 600 teams raising a total of more than $13.7 million to date.
Check-in for the run begins at 7:30 a.m., followed by step-off at 8:30 a.m., while check-in for the walk begins at 8:30 a.m., followed by step-off at 10:30 a.m. Buses begin operating at 7:30 a.m. for runners and at 8:30 a.m. for walkers to shuttle them to Temple Beth El. Parking for runners is only at the Lenox (formerly American Saw) lot in East Longmeadow at 301 Chestnut St. Parking information for walkers can be found on the Rays of Hope website.
Those who want to support the Rays of Hope, but are unable to walk due to other commitments, can sign up as a ‘virtual’ participant, choosing their 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.
All money raised remains 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 provide grants to various community programs throughout Western Mass.
This year’s Rays of Hope major sponsors are Health New England, Baystate Breast & Wellness Center, Baystate Breast Specialists, Baystate Radiology & Imaging, Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation, Gale Toyota, Kinsley Power Systems, Westfield Bank, USA Hauling & Recycling Inc., and Zasco Productions. A listing of all sponsors can be found on the Rays of Hope website.