SPRINGFIELD – For most of the past 20 years, Rays of Hope – A Walk and Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer has been blessed with good weather and the generosity of the community.
Once again, the sun was shining when 24,000 Rays of Hope walkers and runners stepped off from Temple Beth El in Springfield and from Energy Park in Greenfield on Oct. 20, raising $750,000 in the local fight against breast cancer.
“We are grateful for the nearly 500 volunteers who generously gave their time and talent to help make this wonderful community event possible, and appreciate each and every sponsor, supporter, walker and runner, many of whom are breast cancer survivors, for helping to make this another great year,” said Jane Albert, vice president of Development and executive director of the Baystate Health Foundation, who celebrated three-years as a breast cancer survivor at this year’s event.
Highlights of this year’s 20th anniversary event included a flag ceremony, which featured eight breast cancer survivors – symbolizing the one in eight women who will develop breast cancer in their lifetime – holding flags bearing the words action, believe, courage, empower, faith, hope, inspire and strength. A ninth flag, “remember,” was carried through a “sea of pink” walkers and runners as they prepared to step off.
This year’s Rays of Hope Walk and Run also featured a 16-foot wide, 10-foot high LED screen from Zasco Productions, one of this year’s Walk sponsors, which simulcast the opening ceremonies for all to see in the crowded Temple Beth El parking lot. Also, as part of the 20th anniversary program, all past Rays of Hope chairs were honored.
Nearly $12 million has been raised by Rays of Hope during its 20-year history, which began in 1994 with a modest 500 walkers and $50,000 total. Founded by breast cancer survivor Lucy Giuggio Carvalho, who was a nurse at the time at Baystate Medical Center, the Rays of Hope is the most successful fund raising walk and run in western Massachusetts for breast cancer.
All monies raised through the Rays of Hope remain local and are administered by the Baystate Health Foundation. Over the years, funds have supported the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research, as well as treatment, breast health outreach and education, and the purchase of state-of-the art equipment through the Baystate Health Breast Network, including Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Baystate Mary Lane Hospital in Ware, and various community projects throughout western Massachusetts.
Rays of Hope 2013 sponsors were Health New England, Gale Toyota, Balise, Baystate Breast & Wellness Center, Baystate Breast Specialists, Chicopee Savings Charitable Foundation, Doctor’s Express, Kinsley Power Systems, Lia Auto Group, Radiology & Imaging, and Zasco Productions. A listing of all sponsors can be found on the Rays of Hope website.
For more information about Rays of Hope – A Walk and Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer, call 794-8001 or visit www.baystatehealth.com/raysofhope