SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Following the Thunderbirds’ 6th annual ‘Pink in the Rink’ game, they have announced a donation of $30,000 to the Rays of Hope Foundation.

The donation was announced as a result of proceeds from the live jersey auction during the T-Birds’ ‘Pink in the Rink’ game on March 11, which set new records for total funds generated, with a “Pink” night sellout crowd of 6,793. The post-game live jersey auction raised funds to directly benefit Rays of Hope, as every Thunderbirds player had their jersey sold.

Established in the 2016-17 season, “Pink in the Rink” shines a light on breast cancer awareness outside of the traditional October awareness month, by serving as the kickoff to the Rays of Hope fundraising efforts each March. Each year, these fundraising efforts culminate in the Rays of Hope Walk & Run in October. The Thunderbirds have generated more than $100,000 for the Rays of Hope Foundation since the establishment of this staple night, which stays local to western Massachusetts in hopes of finding the cure.

“Pink in the Rink once again proved to be one of the most special nights of our historic season,” said Nathan Costa, Springfield Thunderbirds President. “We share in the Rays of Hope Foundation’s pride for our community and our fanbase for their steadfast support year in and year out. We want to congratulate the Rays of Hope on their 30th anniversary and are proud to continue such a meaningful partnership that celebrates so many brave women and men in Western Massachusetts who have not only survived breast cancer but also thrived in generating awareness through their Rays of Hope family.”

According to a release sent to 22News from the Springfield Thunderbirds, Rays of Hope has raised over $16.6 million since its inception in 1994 to support the women and men living in western Massachusetts touched by breast cancer, and also support vital research at the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research.

This year’s Rays of Hope Walk & Run will be held on Sunday, October 22. For more information, visit their website, or call (413) 794-8001.

“We’re sending our signature big pink hug to the Springfield Thunderbirds and their fans for illuminating HOPE in our community,” said Kathy Tobin, Director of Annual Giving and Events for the Baystate Health Foundation. “As we kick off Rays of Hope’s 30th Anniversary, we reflect on those who have helped us get to this moment. We may not have a cure for breast cancer yet, but we have made lifesaving breakthroughs in treatment and the research continues. Importantly we have a big extended family of support here in western Massachusetts.  Thank you to the T-Birds for lifting our survivors up!”