Walk of Champions Raises $64,000 for Cancer Services at BMLH

WARE – May 1 marked the sixth annual Walk of Champions to benefit integrated Cancer Services at Baystate Mary Lane Hospital. The walk, held at the Quabbin Reservoir, raised $64,000 thanks to the efforts of 1,200 walkers who participated in the event in support of cancer services.

“Keeping cancer care local is important, and we are honored by the hundreds of walkers that support this important event each year,” said Lori Tuttle, RN, program manager of the Baystate Regional Cancer Program at Mary Lane Hospital. “Because of this ongoing generosity and support, we are able to continue to offer care in a patient-centered environment, with the expertise of our medical staff from the Baystate Regional Cancer Program here in Ware.”

Dean Wilson of Quaboag Regional Junior-Senior High School led a student team of 100 members at this year’s walk. Wilson and fellow Sports Medicine students were faced with the challenge offered by their teachers, John O’Neill and Alison Gagner, to get 100 student walkers to participate in this year’s Walk of Champions. The students met the challenge and sponsored a dance at the school to add to their team’s donation.

O’Neill and Gagner were proud to offer their students a lesson of giving and volunteerism. “We wanted them to know that they could make a valued contribution to their community, and to know that even at a young age, they have the ability to make a difference,” said O’Neill. “We wanted our students to learn that it is a life requirement to give.”

Carol Baribeau, director of Annual Funds and Events at Baystate Health Foundation, said the Quaboag made up the largest team in this year’s walk.

“Thanks also go to the dedicated group of volunteers who met monthly throughout the year to plan this special event,” noted Baribeau. “We are extremely grateful to our presenting sponsor, Country Bank for Savings, and to other local businesses that also sponsored the event, including Health New England, Intercity Lines, Boar’s Head Pioneer Provisions, and Wal-Mart, who all contributed immeasurably to the success of this event.

“It was an amazing day, as our patients, joined by their families and friends, supported each other during the very moving walk, which since 2006 has raised $300,000 to benefit cancer care right here in our community,” she continued. “I speak on behalf of Integrated Cancer Services at Mary Lane Hospital in saying thank you to the many teams, individual walkers, corporate and in-kind sponsors, schools, and volunteers who helped to make the 6th annual Walk of Champions a huge success.”

For more information about the Walk of Champions, or to find out how to become involved, call Michelle Graci, manager of Fund Raising Events at BHF, at (413) 794-7654, or e-mail michelle.graci@baystatehealth.org.

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