Wheeling for Healing fundraiser moves to Yankee Candle in 16th year


Staff Writer

Published: 05-05-2023 12:42 PM

SOUTH DEERFIELD — The 16th annual Wheeling for Healing event rolls into a new location this year, kicking off at Yankee Candle on Sunday, May 7, with an expanded fundraising target.

The charity fundraiser that supports Baystate Health’s cancer and care services welcomes cyclists, runners and walkers from the Pioneer Valley and around the region. The event consists of a 10-, 25- or 50-mile cycling route, along with a 5K for runners or walkers. All starting points begin at the Yankee Candle Village, 25 Greenfield Road.

“We were looking to really expand this event and give it a fresh look,” said Baystate Health Foundation Fundraising Events Manager Stephanie Johnson.

Event registration kicks off at 8:30 a.m. for the 50-mile ride, 9:30 a.m. for 25-mile ride, 10 a.m. for the 10-mile ride and 11 a.m. for the 5K run or walk. To pre-register as an individual, form a team or join an existing team, visit BaystateHealth.org/WheelingforHealing. Donations can also be made at this link.

Johnson explained this year’s fundraising will go toward the entire Baystate Health system, rather than just remaining at Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield. She said people who are receiving cancer treatments in Franklin County often have to visit Springfield anyway, so this will provide further benefit to everyone across the hospital network.

“Now the funds you raise will cover all of it,” she said. “That allows us to really look toward the future and hopefully get bigger than we’ve ever been.”

In a statement, Kathy Tobin, director of annual giving and events for Baystate Health Foundation, said Wheeling for Healing allows people at all steps of cancer treatment to reap the benefits of community fundraising.

“We are so thrilled to be hitting the pavement again, especially with our new partners at Yankee Candle Village on board,” Tobin said. “The expansion of Wheeling for Healing’s mission allows us to reach anyone who has been impacted by cancer care at Baystate Health and continue to raise awareness about the many ways this event can support these crucial services throughout our community.”

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There is no fundraising minimum. Registration fees are $10 for children under 12, $25 for teens ages 13 through 17 and $40 for adults 18 years old and older.

Since its founding in 2008, Wheeling for Healing has raised more than $538,000, which has gone toward things like more comfortable infusion chairs and new exam tables, as well as numerous programs for patients and cancer survivors, including art therapy, writing and yoga.

Johnson said organizers typically see about 150 people participating each year, and with the expanded fundraising target, along with its new location, she is hoping the “whole community turns out” and sees the benefits of Wheeling for Healing.

“We’re really excited about expanding this and expanding the mission and partnering with Yankee Candle,” Johnson said. “We’re so excited to see the growth.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.