HOLYOKE, Mass. (WWLP) – The Rays of Hope Walk and Run toward the Cure of Breast Cancer went on wheels Sunday as a way to safely celebrate the accomplishments of survivors and participants raising money for breast cancer research.
“In the traditional spirit of Rays of Hope, we say hope will never be canceled,” said Kathy Tobin, the Director of Annual Giving and Events for the Baystate Foundation.
That message was loud and clear as soon as you arrived for the first ever Parade of Hope. A giant pink arch greeting participants as they showed up to collect their goodie bags.
Ashley Lindeland’s SUV was decked out in pink to show her support. Her team is called “Rugby Fights Cancer”, raising the most this year at over $4,000. Like many participants, her fight to raise money for a cure is a personal one.
“My mom was diagnosed with breast cancer and now it’s metastatic,” said Lindeland. “It warms your heart that western Massachusetts can come together and fundraise together.”
The Rodriguez family are now chairs of the organization that lifted them up 11 years ago when Jacqueline was diagnosed.
“Rays of hope is just being a part of a family that gives you that support, that inspiration and that courage to be a part of something that can help,” said Jaqueline Rodriguez.
All of this started by Lucy Carvalho who recovered from breast cancer herself. The survivor launched the campaign that has raised $15 million for western Massachusetts over the last 27 years.
“Now there’s so much support, there’s so much research who knows, we might even find a cure,” Carvalho said.
After Sunday’s parade, a special message from the Rays of Hope chairs, founder, and medical experts was streamed at noon. You can watch that stream below:
In its 27 years, Rays of Hope has managed to raise $15 million and all funds stay local in western Massachusetts.
22News is a proud sponsor of the Rays of Hope hybrid event.
If you’d like to make a donation, you can head to their website here.