SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – The 30th annual Rays of Hope Walk and Run kicked off in Springfield on Sunday morning.

The Rays of Hope Walk and Run is a fundraiser event that goes towards finding a cure for breast cancer, and hundreds of people came out in their best pink outfits ready to walk and run towards a cure for breast cancer. Over the years, nearly $17 million was raised. All of the money raised helps people affected by breast cancer.

Rays of Hope also provides grants various community programs throughout western Massachusetts.

“I have walked this walk many times but never with such meaning as it is now,” expressed Breast Cancer Survivor, Michelle Lavalley, “It is a very heart felt thank god for family and friends. It is almost like a sisterhood here, everybody gets together and hopefully someday they will find a cure.”

According to the CDC about 240,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed in women and about 2,100 in men every year in the U.S.

Baystate Health Foundation administers the funds that support treatment, breast health programs, outreach, and education.

Kathy Tobin, the Director of Annual Giving and Events with the Baystate Health Foundation told 22News it’s important for people to receive breast cancer support and get the care they need, “When you hear the word cancer it is scary and people need all kinds of support and resources; and we try to make that happen in a comprehensive way for them so that they can feel like they are not alone in this fight.”

She says the organization will continue to help the community battle breast cancer and improve their journey.

Many came out to support this good cause, with check-in for the run beginning at 7:30 a.m., and starting at 8:30 a.m. Check-in for the walk began at 9 a.m. and kicked off at 10:30 a.m.

Walkers can choose from either a 2- or 5-mile walk and runners a 5-mile route in Springfield, according to a news release from Baystate Health.

Parking for runners and walkers is at the Lenox American Saw & Manufacturing Company lot in East Longmeadow. But walkers can also park at Blueberry Hill School and Longmeadow High School in Longmeadow.

Gary Rome Hyundai and 22News is a proud sponsor of the event and 22News anchor Taylor Knight will be emceeing the event.

Mayor Domenic Sarno will be attending and walking in the Rays of Hope Walk and Run. Mayor Sarno states, “I am proud to once again support and attend our annual Rays of Hope Walk and Run for a Cure event.  Since taking office in 2008, my administration, through the generosity of our employees has raised tens of thousands of dollars to proudly support and stand in solidarity with the Rays of Hope and the many individuals and families they support.  We all have family, friends, and loved ones who have battled this challenge, but thanks to the continued support and dedicated efforts from the Rays of Hope team, they do not have to face this challenge alone.  This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Rays of Hope.  To celebrate this joyous occasion, we are respectfully asking all of our local businesses and residents to help ‘Light Up Springfield Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness during the month of October.  Please join with us as we continue to help support this great cause and organization and I look forward to seeing everyone at the Walk for a Cure this Sunday.”

“The love and support that residents, businesses, and community partners give to Rays of Hope means so much to our organization and we wouldn’t be here without them! Light Up Springfield Pink for Rays of Hope is just another example of how special the Western Mass community is!” said Lindsey Bubar, Rays of Hope Chair.

Local News

Kiara Smith is a reporter who has been a part of the 22News team since March 2023. Follow Kiara on X @KiaraBSmith1 and view her bio to see more of her work.