SPRINGFIELD — The Rays of Hope Walk & Run Toward the Cure for Breast Cancer is back in full swing and in person for 2022 after activities were curtailed due to the pandemic. This year’s event will be held on Sunday, Oct. 23.
“I’m looking forward to seeing new but also familiar faces at this year’s event,” said Michelle Graci, manager of Events at the Baystate Health Foundation. “We have so many faithful participants who come each year to celebrate loved ones and to raise funds to support those touched by breast cancer in our communities. Seeing so many people smiling and hugging in a big sea of pink is just remarkable and extremely moving.”
Rays of Hope is celebrating 29 years of supporting individuals touched by breast cancer throughout Western Mass. Rays of Hope has raised more than $16.1 million since 1994. These funds have stayed local to support research at the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research, programs and services through the Baystate Health Breast Network, and community programs such as Cancer House of Hope and LIVESTRONG programs at the YMCA of Greater Springfield and YMCA of Greater Westfield.
“It is a privilege to support this community with help and hope, despite the challenges of a global pandemic. We are hopeful that every step brings us closer to a cure for breast cancer,” said Kathy Tobin, director of Annual Giving & Events for Baystate Health Foundation. “Meanwhile, over the last 29 years, we have taken giant leaps in the treatment and care of breast-cancer survivors. Together we are fulfilling founder Lucy Giuggio’s vision. This year, let’s raise money and spirits by coming together again to reinforce that hope will never be canceled for all of our pink warriors, their caregivers, and all of us who love them.”
Participants at this year’s Rays of Hope Walk & Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer can expect to see familiar elements like the Pink Hope Survivors Lounge, where survivors receive special recognition; the Rays of Hope Store, which will be filled with new and fan-favorite merchandise; and the entertainers on stage and throughout the two- and five-mile routes. Also back is the annual survivors’ photo, through which survivors who have received the COVID-19 vaccination can gather to celebrate the strength found among each other.
“This event is not only special to the incredible survivors, but also to the friends and family of survivors who see the walk as a way to honor and recognize the battle their loved ones fought or continue to fight every day,” said Lindsey Bubar, 2022-23 Rays of Hope Chair. “As a survivor myself, I view the walk as a true celebration of grit, courage, and hope — and you can truly feel it in the air.”
For those who may still be unsure about gathering in large groups, there is the option to fundraise and walk or run any day and place of their choosing. Being at the event is not required to show support for the hundreds of local individuals diagnosed each year and the thousands living in area communities.
To register online as an individual or create a team of family, friends, and colleagues, visit baystatehealth.org/raysofhope.