Brand new name, same great cause: the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk

All are invited to kick off breakfast for 13th annual walk to benefit cancer research

By Sandra Gray

UMass Medical School Communications

December 15, 2011
Thousands of people participated in the 2010 Walk to Cure Cancer, now called the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk

Thousands of people participated in the 2010 Walk to Cure Cancer, now called the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk.

The newly renamed UMass Medicine Cancer Walk will continue the tradition established 13 years ago, when the first Walk to Cure Cancer took place on Labor Day in 1998. Since then, the annual event has raised more than $6.5 million to benefit cutting-edge cancer research at UMass Medical School and the UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence. 

The kick off breakfast for this year’s walk will take place Thursday, June 16, in the Lazare Research Building. Returning team leaders and any members of the UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial community interested in learning more about becoming a team leader for the Sept. 25 walk are invited to attend. Breakfast will be served beginning at 7:30 a.m., with the formal program following taking place from 8 to 9 a.m.

Attendees will hear the inspirational story of 18-year-old cancer survivor and keynote speaker Hayley Johnston, who was only 17 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and spent much of her senior year of high school either in treatment or at home. But with the help of new advances in medicine and a skilled team at the UMass Memorial Cancer Center of Excellence, her story has a happy ending: she beat cancer while successfully graduating from St. Peter Marian High School.

Also headlining the event will be Robert Haynes, Jr., retiring president of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO who, along with UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial leadership, established the Walk to Cure Cancer. Emceeing the proceedings will be local radio personality Greg Byrne, co-host of The Morning Show on WSRS 96.1 FM, the media sponsor for the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk. Information about forming teams and soliciting financial supporters will be provided.

To date, funds raised by the five-mile walk have supported research studies, state-of-the-art laboratory facilities and equipment and, most importantly, the world-renowned scientists and medical professionals of UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial who are collaborating to find a cure.

“The history of the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk is one that demonstrates the power of community and grassroots fundraising. The name was changed to more closely identify the event and fundraising with the tremendous research institutions it support,” said event manager Laura Liston. “People participate because they know their efforts go toward building their cancer center—and because their efforts can mean life for people like Hayley Johnston.”