Attempt to overshadow mission

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

We are so grateful for the 200-plus riders, walkers, runners and sponsors who participated in our 10th anniversary of Wheeling for Healing event in support of Baystate Franklin Medical Center. With the help of so many wonderful friends, we raised more than $53,000, making this our most successful Wheeling for Healing fundraising event ever!

Wheeling for Healing was launched in 2008 to raise funds for health and wellness at Baystate Franklin Medical Center. In 2011, cancer care and services at our community hospital became the focus of this fundraising event. Over the years, our event has raised more than $300,000 for Baystate Franklin, money that has benefited our patients and their families by underwriting improvements and investments in equipment and other resources for cancer care at our hospital.

Together, we founded Wheeling for Healing and continue our commitment to this important activity and are deeply touched and grateful for all volunteers who have committed their time, talent, and resources to make this fundraiser so meaningful for so many. We are long time employees at Baystate Franklin and actively support our community hospital in all ways we can. It is incredibly moving to experience families coming together to celebrate their cancer survivorship as well as to witness the caring, compassion and embraces of those who have lost a loved one or friend to cancer.

As we all savored this special time on Sunday, we were shocked to find Rudy Renaud, a Greenfield town councilor who works for the Massachusetts Nurses Association, and other union representatives distributing leaflets that disparaged Baystate Franklin. Wheeling for Healing is a family centered event, providing an environment of camaraderie and support for all those impacted by cancer and all those who want to support our hospital through this wonderful bike ride, walk and run. Councilor Renaud’s and the union’s activities at this event not only were inappropriate, but the material they distributed was factually wrong and has no place at our event, or anywhere for that matter.

For all of those who supported this event and all those impacted by cancer, we celebrate you. We also appreciate the commitment of our colleagues at Baystate Health Foundation who work on our behalf to help us make this a great event for everyone. Our health system’s foundation ensures that 100 percent of the proceeds from Wheeling for Healing are used specifically for cancer care and services at Baystate Franklin. We certainly did not appreciate Renaud’s questioning the use of dollars as she did, as her accusations question the integrity of all of us who are committed to this event and support this pathway for providing resources for our community hospital that otherwise could not be funded from the annual operating budget.

We believe it’s important to remain active members of our community, contribute positively and recognize the value of support for not-for-profit organizations like Baystate Franklin.

Bruce Mainville and Dr. Howard Natenshon