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Recruitment underway for Rays of Hope walk

GREENFIELD — This year’s 21st annual Rays of Hope — A Walk Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer may still be two months away on Oct. 19, but walkers are already out there pounding the pavement for their teams.

Participants can register now for both the walk and run online at baystatehealth.org/raysofhope, where they can also create their own personal webpage to assist them in their fund-raising efforts.

“Whether forming your own team, joining another, or just walking on your own, it’s never too early to begin recruiting team members or soliciting sponsors as part of your fundraising effort for the walk and run,” said Michelle Shattuck, event chair. “Breast cancer isn’t something that happens only during Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October. It strikes women and men 365 days a year.”

As in past years, the walk in Greenfield — either a two- or three-mile route — begins at Energy Park on Miles Street with registration 10 a.m. to noon. Greenfield’s walk steps off at noon, following the 11:30 a.m. breast cancer survivors’ group photo.

Since its inception in Springfield in 1994, Rays of Hope, the most successful fundraising walk and run in western Massachusetts for breast cancer, has grown from 500 participants raising $50,000 to some 24,000 walkers and runners in an expanded event that includes a second walk in Greenfield, as well as this year’s fifth annual Run Toward the Cure 8K in Springfield.

Since 1994, Rays of Hope has raised over $11.8 million, with all money remaining local and administered by the Baystate Health Foundation to assist patients and their families affected by breast cancer.

Those who want to support the Rays of Hope, but are unable to walk due to other commitments, can participate in the 10,000 Steps Toward A Cure program. Participants receive a pedometer to keep track of their steps throughout the month of October, while raising donations similar to other walkers.

For more information about this year’s Rays of Hope Walk and 8K Run, held rain or shine, call 413-794-8001 or visit baystatehealth.org/raysofhope.

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