5K Team Spotlight: Ribbons of Hope

North Shore and Cape Ann team again walk for cancer care

We’ve all seen the differently colored ribbons that represent and raise awareness of different cancers — pink for  breast cancer, blue for colon cancer and red for leukemia or kidney cancer. These ribbons were the inspiration for the name of Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals’ longest-running Lahey Cancer Institute 5K Walk & Run Team, Ribbons of Hope.

Ribbons of Hope started participating in the Lahey Cancer Institute 5K Walk & Run in 2013 after Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals became affiliated with Lahey Hospital & Medical Center. “It was a great way to meet our counterparts in Burlington and Peabody,” said Karin Leppanen, RN, MS, OCN, nurse manager for Cancer Services.

Over the years, physicians, nurses, social workers, support staff and staff from other departments at Beverly and Addison Gilbert hospitals have joined Ribbons of Hope on race day. “It shows this is a team effort for our patients,” Leppanen said. Even those who can’t walk or run on race day still participate by raising money and wearing T-shirts to raise awareness of cancer care at  their hospitals.

This June will mark  the team’s eighth year at the 5K. For those involved, it’s worth it knowing that their fundraising helps pay for services, improvements and equipment — such as new, more comfortable infusion chairs — that benefit their patients. In 2018, Beverly Hospital oncology staff used the money raised to create a healing garden to beautify the entrance to the department and to provide a place for patients to get some fresh air and relax between appointments. The money raised last year will go toward maintaining that garden.

“I think it reflects the passion and professionalism of the team and wanting to give back,” Leppanen said. “We’re drawing attention to the great care that we give.”