The Quabbin Reservoir is set to Host the 14th Annual Walk of Champions on Sunday, May 5th. Here to tell us about this empowering event are Darlene Sojka and Michelle Boivin.
Sunday, May 5, marks the 14th annual Walk of Champions where hundreds of walkers will come together in honor and in memory of loved ones affected by cancer.
Registration for the walk, fundraising resources and more, including online giving opportunities, can be found on the Walk of Champions website at www.baystatehealth.org/WOC.
“Keeping cancer care local is critical for us and to our patients, their families and our communities,” said Michael Moran, president and chief administrative officer for Baystate Mary Lane and Baystate Wing Hospital. “We are grateful to the many area businesses that sponsor our walk and the hundreds of walkers who participate in the Walk of Champions each year.”
Since its inception in 2006, the Walk of Champions has raised more than $900,000, and all funds have remained local to support those facing cancer. In 2018 Baystate Mary Lane announced an expansion was underway to the Baystate Regional Cancer Program located in Ware. The project which doubled the size of the unit was made possible primarily through Walk of Champions funds. In addition to supporting the expansion project, the Walk of Champions funds have been used to support counseling, educational outreach, pastoral care, medications, state-of-the-art equipment, and the Healing Garden located on the Mary Lane campus.
“We continue our commitment to providing exceptional, high-level cancer-care services in the Baystate Mary Lane community,” said Dr. Chandra Loke, Hematologist/Oncologist. “And our patients come from many area communities to receive their treatment here because of the expert care as well as the atmosphere of hope and friendship that we are known for.”
Dr. Loke joins her partners Dr. Jonathan Marsh, Hematologist/Oncologist and Dr. Richard Steingart, Hematologist, all of the Baystate Regional Cancer Program. “Our goal is to offer our patients state-of-the-art treatments and personal, individually tailored cancer care close to home surrounded by the comfort of their family and friends,” said Dr. Loke.
The Walk of Champions was established in 2006, in memory of Barbara O’Neill, by her son John after being touched by the “wonderful compassionate care” given to her by the staff at Baystate Mary Lane during her cancer journey. O’Neill’s commitment to keeping cancer care local became even stronger when his sister Cheryl was diagnosed with breast cancer and was able to receive her care in Ware. As the number of walkers increased, the Walk of Champions moved in 2008 from its Warren location to the Quabbin Reservoir in memory of Steven Gagner, who served as a state trooper for 24 years and was stationed at the Quabbin.