Thousands participate in Springfield’s 23rd annual Rays of Hope walk

Rays of Hope is celebrating the strength and courage of those who have fought, or are fighting, breast cancer

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – More than 20 thousand men and women took part in the Rays of Hope walk in Springfield Sunday to help raise money and awareness for breast cancer.

Breast cancer survivor Jacqueline Rodriguez told 22News, “7 Years ago I got diagnosed with breast cancer and I believe as long as we stay united and a team we can overcome anything.”

It is a sentiment that was evident at the 23rd annual Rays of Hope fundraiser; an event where over 20,000 people help raise money, support and awareness for those who have been affected by breast cancer.

Breast cancer survivor Christina Wheeler told 22News this event helps those battling breast cancer know that they’re not doing it alone. She said, “You’re made to feel so important, which is important during this time of treatment, or suffering, or helping someone that’s suffering.”

Rays of Hope is the most successful fundraising event for breast cancer in western Massachusetts. All of the proceeds raised will go to the Baystate Health Foundation to help patients and families affected by breast cancer.

Jane Albert of Baystate told 22News, “6 years ago I was diagnosed with breast cancer, so it’s incredibly meaningful and special to see so many people supporting each other and raising money that all stays local.”

Many attended the event to support family and friends who have fought and won the battle against breast cancer.

Lorena Recca of Springfield told 22News, “My best friend had a double mastectomy last year and my mom has been in remission for over 19 years”

Since its inception in 1994, Rays of Hope has raised more than 13 million dollars, all of which stays right here in western Massachusetts.