Since 1994, Rays of Hope has raised more than $10 million to support efforts on behalf of patients and their families affected by breast cancer. Anna Symington, chair of the Rays of Hope says, “Out of many charitable organizations, and there are many and they are fine organizations, the Rays of Hope can tout that the money stays in the Pioneer Valley and it goes towards outreach and education, therapies towards healing, but the research. I mean it’s the walk and the run towards the cure, that’s the emphasis.”
And establishing the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research. Dr. Christopher Otis is the Director of Surgical Pathology for Baystate Health. He says a lot of the breast cancer research is directed toward individual personalized medicine. “So what we’re interested in as scientists, as pathologists is to discover what these changes are and then utilize them clinically develop new therapies with less toxicity to the patient to be able to effectively treat the patients so that breast cancer can become a treatable disease, or more treatable disease that it currently is, “ says Otis.
Otis went on to say that they look at an individual’s breast cancer relative to these new discoveries. That person’s breast cancer may be different from another person’s breast cancer. He adds, “We look at the cancers under a microscope, we look at the cancers for the proteins that they’re making which is new and we’re looking at the cancers relative to their actual backbone, the DNA backbone. And so these are the areas of active research right now.”
That’s thanks to the Rays of Hope. And Symington says all the money raised here stays here. She adds, “And to be able to grant $1.5 million toward this project and establish the center for breast cancer research, which is brand new, I mean, that’s exciting to be happening right here in the valley.”
If you’d like to help in the fight against breast cancer, walk or run with us this Sunday in either Springfield or Greenfield. If you’d like to donate to our team, we’ve set up a link at wggb. com.