T-Birds Donate $30,000 to Rays of Hope Foundation

Apr 26, 2023

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Springfield Thunderbirds announced a donation of $30,000 to the Rays of Hope as a result of proceeds from the live jersey auction during the T-Birds’ 6th Annual Pink in the Rink game on March 11.
Thunderbirds President Nathan Costa and Vice President of Sales & Strategy Todd McDonald presented a check to the Rays of Hope earlier this week inside the MassMutual Center. This year’s Pink in the Rink game set new records for total funds generated, and the MassMutual Center came out in full force with a sixth straight "Pink" night sellout crowd of 6,793.

Established in T-Birds' inaugural season in 2016-17, "Pink in the Rink" serves as a kickoff to the Rays of Hope fundraising efforts each March to shine a light on breast cancer awareness outside of the traditional October awareness month. Each year, the fundraising efforts culminate in the annual Rays of Hope Walk & Run in October. Since the establishment of this staple night, the Thunderbirds have generated more than $100,000 for the Rays of Hope Foundation, all of which stays local in Western Massachusetts in hopes of finding the cure.
Proceeds for this donation were raised primarily via the post-game live jersey auction, as every Thunderbirds player had his jersey sold to directly benefit the Rays of Hope. In addition, Chris Hayes, General Manager of Oak View Group Hospitality, the food and beverage partner for the MassMutual Center, contributed toward the donation total through the sales of Pink Whitney beverages throughout the evening.
"Pink in the Rink once again proved to be one of the most special nights of our historic season," said Costa. "We share in the Rays of Hope Foundation's pride for our community and our fanbase for their steadfast support year in and year out. We want to congratulate the Rays of Hope on their 30th anniversary and are proud to continue such a meaningful partnership that celebrates so many brave women and men in Western Massachusetts who have not only survived breast cancer but also thrived in generating awareness through their Rays of Hope family."

“We’re sending our signature big pink hug to the Springfield Thunderbirds and their fans for illuminating HOPE in our community," said Kathy Tobin, Director of Annual Giving and Events for the Baystate Health Foundation. "As we kick off Rays of Hope’s 30th Anniversary, we reflect on those who have helped us get to this moment. We may not have a cure for breast cancer yet, but we have made lifesaving breakthroughs in treatment and the research continues. Importantly we have a big extended family of support here in western Massachusetts.  Thank you to the T-Birds for lifting our survivors up!”

Since its inception in 1994, Rays of Hope has raised over $16.6 million to support the women and men living in western Massachusetts touched by breast cancer. Funds also support vital research at the Rays of Hope Center for Breast Cancer Research.

The T-Birds Foundation was established in 2018 with a mission of serving the Springfield community and the Pioneer Valley beyond every win and loss through a focus on providing and supporting initiatives in the areas of health and wellness, youth enrichment, and civil service. During the 2022-23 season, the T-Birds Foundation raised more than $131,000 for charitable causes in Western Massachusetts.

This year’s Rays of Hope Walk & Run Toward the Cure of Breast Cancer will be held on Sunday, October 22. For more information, visit Baystatehealth.org/Raysofhope or call 413-794-8001.

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