Rays of Hope Marks 15 Years with Walk Slated for Oct. 26

SPRINGFIELD — With the 15th Annual Rays of Hope – a Walk Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer slated for Oct. 26, time is running out to organize a team and gather pledges.

“All proceeds raised from the walk stay right here in our communities and make an impact on our own friends and neighbors,” said chair Carol Baribeau of Southwick.

Last year, the walk through Forest Park raised $850,000 to fund breast cancer programs and services for breast cancer patients and survivors, research, and state-of-the art equipment at Baystate Regional Cancer Program’s Comprehensive Breast Center, as well as breast cancer care at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, and various community projects and organizations such as the Cancer Connection and Cancer House of Hope.

Last year more than 13,000 walkers, including more than 380 teams, participated in the Rays of Hope walk.

Captains must register their team by calling Rays of Hope at (413) 794-8001 or by visiting www.baystatehealth.com/ raysofhope.

Teams with potential members who cannot be at the walk on Oct. 26 are encouraged to participate on the team as a Rays of Hope ‘10,000 Stepper,’ through the ‘10,000 Steps Toward a Cure’ virtual walk. As part of the virtual walk program, participants receive a pedometer to keep track of their steps during the month of October. Virtual walkers raise donations similar to other participants in the walk and achieve their 10,000 steps (approximately five miles) over time as part of their daily routine. Entire teams can be made up of 10,000 Steppers.

Teams, individual walkers, and 10,000 Steppers also have the opportunity to create their own fund-raising Web pages. The pages can be personalized with photos and text explaining their personal involvement with Rays of Hope and the steps they are taking toward the cure for breast cancer.

By using the link on the Rays of Hope Web site, participants create customizable, personal Web pages using easy-to-use tools, then send E-mails to friends and family locally and across the country asking for their support.

Rays of Hope, the most successful fund-raising walk for breast cancer in Western Mass., was founded in 1994 by Springfield native Lucy Giuggio and has since raised more than $6.5 million.

The Comprehensive Breast Center, part of the Baystate Regional Cancer Program, is a unique, interdisciplinary program incorporating Baystate Medical Center staff physicians and community physicians. Under the medical direction of Dr. Grace Makari-Judson, the program offers routine mammography services, as well as diagnostic mammography and core biopsy, diagnostic evaluations, multidisciplinary consultation, high-risk screening, education and outreach services, and support services.

The center also supports community education and treatment programs at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield and Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware.

For more information about this year’s Rays of Hope walk, held rain or shine, call (413) 794-8001 or visit www.baystatehealth.com/raysofhope.