Wheeling for Healing Bike Ride to Raise Funds for Cancer Services

GREENFIELD — Registration is open for the ninth annual Wheeling for Healing bike/walk/run benefit on Sunday, Aug. 21, starting and ending at Greenfield Community College, 1 College Dr., Greenfield. Health New England is the presenting sponsor for the event. The registration fee is $40 for cyclists, $30 for walkers and runners, and free for children age 12 and under. It includes morning snacks and a picnic lunch, catered by Greenfield Community College.

Wheeling for Healing features three different rides — a local, 10-mile route through the Greenfield meadows; a moderate, 25-mile ride through Bernardston, Gill, and the Turners Falls and Greenfield bike trails; and a challenging, 50-mile route that goes up into the hills of Warwick and Wendell. This event is not a race, and participants are asked to sign up for a course that matches their level of ability.

The walk/run course includes the Greenfield Community College campus, as well as neighboring streets — all within safe, low-traffic areas. Small children can safely ride their bikes while their parents walk or run alongside them. For those coming with young children, there will also be children’s bike-safety activities.

Participants are encouraged to collect pledges to raise funds for cancer programs and services at Baystate Franklin. Those who have a group of enthusiastic cyclists in their workplace, or who are part of a cycling club or a family of cyclists, are invited to form teams and raise donations together. Teams may be comprised of walkers, runners, and cyclists. They may write their team names on sports ‘bibs’ that will be available at the event.

Proceeds from previous Wheeling for Healing events have been used to purchase medical equipment and comfort items for patients undergoing chemotherapy at Baystate Franklin, and have also gone to assist patients with extraordinary expenses associated with their illness, including medicines not covered by their insurance.

Last year, nearly 200 participants helped Wheeling for Healing raise more than $40,000, with funds supporting the purchase of new exam tables for BFMC’s Oncology Department. The new tables are controlled by an electronic foot pedal, allowing them to be lowered so patients can get on them more easily. They are also softer and wider for patients’ comfort.

Participants can visit baystatehealth.org/wheelingforhealing to design their own web pages, add photographs and personal messages about why they are committed to this cause, and send e-mails to solicit pledges. Anyone who raises $100 or more in pledges will receive a commemorative sports T-shirt.

For more information or to register for or sponsor Wheeling for Healing, visit baystatehealth.org/wheelingforhealing, or call Baystate Health Foundation at (413) 794-4288.