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Katelynn's Ride commemorates 10 years of raising funds to fight childhood cancer

Date: 6/1/2010

June 2, 2010.

By Katelyn Gendron

Reminder Assistant Editor

WEST SPRINGFIELD -- West Springfield resident Domenic Battista didn't think his small fundraiser would be celebrating its aluminum anniversary when he started Katelynn's Ride 10 years ago. Fast forward a decade and he's ready for another 10 years of prosperous events, beginning with the 2010 ride on June 6.

Battista founded the fundraiser in memory of his 11-year-old daughter, Katelynn, who lost her battle with leukemia in 1997. The ride is an extension of the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, which has raised more than $240 million for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, where Katelynn received treatment.

"The community support has been overwhelming," Battista said. "The reason [the ride] is so popular is because there are other families who have been through tragedy and [participating] is their way for giving thanks that they have healthy children."

Battista said he and his family are willing to participate in the ride as long as public support continues. Public participation is at an all-time high, he added, raising $146,000 in 2009, bringing the total funds raised to $1.2 million.

He said the goal is to raise $175,000 for this year's ride.

Steven Stark, co-founder of Katelynn's Ride, noted that this year proceeds would also be given to Baystate Regional Cancer Programs Pediatric Oncology.

"This is a pivotal moment for Katelynn's Ride as we're trying to do more things locally," he said, adding that medical professionals from Baystate will be on hand throughout the day.

Battista will continue his tradition of leading out each group of riders participating in either the 10-, 25-, 50- or 100-mile routes. Those not riding will have the opportunity to enjoy the Family Fun Center, lunch, music by the Brian Jarvis Band and a raffle.

"This is a great opportunity for families to come out and spend time together for a good cause," Battista said.

Adult riders 18 and older must raise a minimum of $300 to participate, while those age 17 and younger are required to donate at least $100.

To register for Katelynn's Ride on June 6 at Hampshire College in Amherst, visit