Walk of Champions Gets Strong Start with Help from ‘Cut-a-thon’

WARE — The day itself was cold and snowy; seven inches of new snow fell to the ground that day, but the Ware community had a walk on their mind. And with that said, the 2008 Walk of Champions was underway.

Meanwhile, Silhouettes Salon in Ware held a Cut-a-thon to benefit the third annual walk.

“This was an enormously successful event, and we were absolutely thrilled with the community response in such adverse weather conditions,” said Debbie Rozzen, owner of Silhouettes Salon. “We kicked off the Walk of Champions season by raising more than $1,600 for cancer services at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital.”

A total of 45 haircuts and 26 manicures were performed during the Cut-a-thon, which was held in March. Silhouette staff included Rozzen, Amanda Pierce, Joslyn Friberg, Chrystine Banas, and Beth Schneider.

The Walk of Champions was originated by John O’Neill, ladies field hockey coach at Quaboag Regional Middle High School in Warren, after he watched his mother struggle with cancer. “It was the wonderful care demonstrated at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital that allowed for our family to come to terms with our loss,” he said.

The Walk of Champions will be held rain or shine on Sunday, May 4, beginning at 10 a.m. It will involve a 2-mile and a 5-mile walking course beginning and ending at Quaboag Regional Middle High School.

“We are delighted to have Health New England, Country Bank, Intercity Lines of Warren, and Glaceau Vitamin Water as this year’s years Gold Sponsors,” noted Deb Gagnon, Development manager at BMLH.

Pledge forms are available for businesses, community organizations, and community members as part of participation in the Walk of Champions. Online donations can be made through www.firstgiving.com/bmlh

“There has been a great deal of community support over the years for cancer services here at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital,” said Gagnon.

“We want to help our local hospital continue to provide the best in care and the best in caring for the people in our community,” said O’Neill.

For more information on the Walk of Champions, or to find out how to become involved, call Gagnon at (413) 967-2458.

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