Second Annual Walk of Champions Slated

WARE — John O’Neill, girls field hockey coach at Quaboag Regional Middle High School in Warren, is once again busy this time of year, as he and a team of volunteers are in the process of planning the second annual Walk of Champions, set for May 6, to benefit cancer services at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital.

“The Walk of Champions originated after watching my own mother struggle with cancer, and the grip it had on her,” said O’Neill. “It was the wonderful care demonstrated at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital that allowed for our family to come to terms with her loss.

“Each person who cared for our mom displayed a genuine interest in her care and needs,” he continued. “This special attention continues to live within my heart, and thus, I am motivated to give back to the very hospital that demonstrates care, quality, compassion, and love for their patients — Baystate Mary Lane Hospital.”

The Walk of Champions will be held rain or shine on Sunday, May 6 beginning at 10 a.m. It will involve walking a course of two or five miles, beginning and ending at Quaboag Regional Middle High School.

Last year’s walk included more than 350 walkers and raised approximately $20,000. “This year we already have a large turnout of teams from area schools, including Quaboag Regional, South Hadley High School, the Ware High School cheerleaders, and more,” said Deb Gagnon, the hospital’s fundraising and development manager.

“Our businesses are once again on board, with teams from the Ware Rotary Club, Country Bank, North Brookfield Savings Bank, Wrights, the West Brookfield Family Practice, and Baystate Health’s 95 Sargent St. facility,” she added. “We are delighted to have Country Bank and Intercity Lines of Warren as this year’s years Gold Sponsors.”

“Our primary focus will be getting teams from local high schools to participate — giving the young adults of this community an avenue by which they can help their neighbors and focus their energy into something positive,” said O’Neill. “While we hope to get 100{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} participation from the schools in our area, we are not limiting this to kids.”

Pledge forms are available for businesses, community organizations, and community members as part of participation in the Walk of Champions. For more information on the Walk of Champions, or to find out how to become involved, call Gagnon at (413) 967-2458.