Rays of Hope Walkers Raise $950,000 — and Counting

SPRINGFIELD and GREENFIELD — The 2010 edition of the Rays of Hope — a Walk Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer — was a record-breaker on a number of levels.

The event, which featured walks in Springfield (the Forest Park area) and Greenfield (Energy Park) as well as the first-ever ‘Run Toward the Cure 8K’ in Springfield drew more than 19,000 participants — 18,300 in Springfield and 700 in Greenfield — easily eclipsing the old mark of 17,600 set last year.

Together, the walkers and runners raised more than $950,000, with that number rising as additional pledges were tallied. That total surpasses the $900,000 raised in 2009.

And it pushes the grand total raised since the event was launched in 1994 to nearly $9.3 million.

More than 500 teams participated in this year’s event, with some of them raising more than $10,000. The Nancy D’s Divas, for example, with 135 members, collected $14,000. Also, the Solutia SOULDIERS, roughly 75 members strong, raised more than $14,000; Willy Hope ’14, from Williston Northampton School, with 100 team members, raised $7,300; and YANkee CANdle Supports Survivors, a team of about 65 members that walked in Greenfield, raised more than $74,000.

All monies raised through the Rays of Hope remain local and are administered by the Baystate Health Foundation. Over the years, funds have supported programs and services for breast cancer patients and survivors, breast health education, and the purchase of state-of-the art equipment at Baystate Regional Cancer Program’s Comprehensive Breast Center, Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, and various community projects throughout Western Mass. Rays of Hope also funds several research projects each year at the Comprehensive Breast Center and at the Pioneer Valley Life Sciences Institute, a collaboration between Baystate Medical Center and the UMass Amherst.

Under the medical direction of Dr. Grace Makari-Judson, the Comprehensive Breast Center in Springfield offers routine mammography services, as well as diagnostic mammography and core biopsy, diagnostic evaluations, multi-disciplinary consultation, high-risk screening, education and outreach services, and support services.

This year’s walk was presented by Health New England, with major sponsorships from Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation, Balise Motor Sales, the Lane Construction Corporation in Northfield, and Radiology and Imaging Inc., with additional support from a host of other community businesses.

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