If you’re looking for a spectacular fundraising event that makes a difference and is visually inspirational, check out the annual Light the Night walk, hosted by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It takes place all over the country, including two places in the Puget Sound area. As a four year survivor of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL), I will be walking with my friends and family under Team Love.
The South Sound event is held on September 17, 2011 at Ruston Way in Tacoma and the Seattle event is held on September 24, 2011 at Green Lake Park. I do a lot of fundraisers, so last year I thought this would be just a leisurely walk around Green Lake with a bunch of people for a great cause. Reason enough to do it, one would think. But what I didn’t expect was how gorgeous and truly inspirational it turned out to be.
What sets this event apart from many other fundraisers is the visual aspect depicted by the lit balloons that each participant carries, coining the name “Light the Night.” As darkness sets in, the Green Lake path gets very dark, but each person that raises over $100 gets a colored balloon designated by your relationship to blood diseases (red for supporters, white for survivors, and gold for in memory of those who lost the battle to a blood cancer). The balloons all have a tiny light inserted in them that can be turned on and off. With the 4,000 balloons that are lit against the trees and sky, the path is illuminated. So is your spirit. We started the walk with 4,000 people at dusk, crowded at first, but once you got your pace going, it thinned out a bit. It was still crowded enough to hold conversations, meet new people, connect with old friends, and hear some real moving stories of survival, love and loss. It takes less than an hour to walk the Lake at a leisurely pace.
If the beauty, inspirational stories, and good karma don’t inspire you to walk, maybe the fact that the research dollars raised during fundraisers like this have recently led to a breakthrough in a cure for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). A small but very promising clinical trial out of the University of Pennsylvania highlights the importance of funding blood cancer research. Three patients with advanced CLL have achieved remission thanks to a new therapy using gene transfer therapy to create T-cells that can kill cancer cells. This new therapy may be the answer for this disease and other cancers as well. The medical field is cautiously optimistic as the study was done on just three individuals. However, the fact that they are that close to a cure is inspiring enough for this writer. So, get those walking shoes on, motivate your friends, and get walking.
Proceeds for the Light the Night walk go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure Leukemia, Lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and Myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.
WHEN: September 17, 2011 at 7 p.m. (Memorial event and other festivities begin at 5 p.m.)
Ruston Way Waterfront
Tacoma, WA 98407
WHEN: September 24, 2011 at 7 p.m. (Memorial event and other festivities begin at 5 p.m.)
Green Lake Park
7201 East Green Lake Drive
Seattle, WA 98115
REGISTRATION: Visit the Light the Night walk’s website.