Wheeling for Healing looks to raise $30K for Baystate Franklin’s cancer care

  • Wheeling for Healing, pictured in a previous year, will be held on Sunday starting from Wedgewood Gardens in Greenfield. Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 8/19/2022 5:47:51 PM
Modified: 8/19/2022 5:44:25 PM

GREENFIELD — Whether you like to walk, run or bike, everyone can participate in Sunday’s Wheeling for Healing fundraiser to support cancer care at Baystate Franklin Medical Center.

The event was founded in 2008 by nuclear medicine technologist Bruce Mainville and radiologist Howard Natenshon, who are both longtime supporters and employees of Baystate Franklin as well as cycling enthusiasts. For many years, Mainville participated in the Pan-Mass Challenge to raise money for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Inspired, he later decided to host a local ride to raise money for the Greenfield hospital.

Wheeling for Healing has raised $538,000 since its inception, and organizers hope to bring in $30,000 for Baystate Franklin this year, according to Fundraising Events Manager Stephanie Johnson. In previous years, the race has also been dedicated to passionate community members. However, this race is not dedicated to anyone in particular.

“This is our 15th anniversary so we will really be dedicating it to, and thanking, everybody who has contributed to making Wheeling for Healing what it has become over the last 15 years,” Johnson wrote in an email.

The ride originally started at White Eagle Society’s picnic grounds, with post-ride festivities held at Natenshon’s home. The ride now launches from Wedgewood Gardens at 1 Kimball Drive. Organizers say much has been upgraded since its 2008 beginnings.

“We are looking forward to a great day with the community in celebration of how far we’ve come in the past decade and a half,” Johnson said.

Participants can partake in a 50-, 25- or 10-mile ride if a bicycle is their vehicle of choice. Attendees can also run or walk 5 kilometers, all raising money for the same goal.

Registration begins at 8 a.m. The 50-mile ride begins at 8:30 a.m., the 25-mile ride starts at 9:30 a.m. and the 10-mile ride starts at 10 a.m. The 5-kilometer walk or run will follow at 11 a.m. All races will conclude at noon for a picnic lunch at the start location.

People are able to ride as individuals in the race, or start a team and participate together. So far, the event has raised almost $10,000, with more money expected to come on the day of the fundraiser.

According to organizers, 90 people are expected to participate, but there is still room to register on Sunday morning. More information can be found at baystatehealth.org/wheelingforhealing.

Reach out to Bella Levavi at blevavi@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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