SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a disease that continues to impact the lives of men and women across the United States.

The community walking and running in the Rays of Hope Walk in solidarity with everyone who has been impacted by breast cancer. This year the event is bigger and better than ever as they celebrate in person after a two year hiatus.

On average, every two minutes a woman is diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States.
Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of women each year. Regular testing is crucial for early detection.

Gina Russo of Holyoke said, “I actually just went yesterday and got my mammogram. It literally took like 5 minutes. Take a few pictures and your out the door.”

Margarita Robinson of Springfield told 22News, “I think people should not be afraid. I think it’s better for people to go and get their mammogram and get it out of the way. If there is something wrong, there’s people that’s going to take care of you right away.”

Robinson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2008 and she also lost her mother to breast cancer. Robinson hopes that through events like the walk men and women can get tested more frequently and not feel alone.

Margarita Robinson added, “Go to the doctor and check ourselves in the shower, check yourself and go to the doctor, and don’t be afraid. Never be afraid.”

Groups like Rays of Hope have been helping individuals in the fight against breast cancer by walking alongside them on their cancer journey since 1994.

Michelle Graci, the manager of events at the Baystate Health Foundation said, “They’ve been supporting everyone in their community, in their local community because the money stays local. It’s supporting breast cancer patients, survivors, their families, programs and research right here.”

22News is a proud media sponsor of the Rays of Hope Walk. 22News Anchor Taylor Knight will be emceeing this Sunday’s walk and run towards the cure of breast cancer.

The Rays of Hope Walk and Run Kicks off at 979 Dickinson Street In Springfield at 7:30 a.m. Sunday. Rays of Hope has raised over $16.1 million to date. All funds raised remain local in western Massachusetts.