This past Saturday, October 24th, my father, sister and I took part in the Light the Night walk to help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society get one step closer to finding a cure for blood cancer.
Thousands of people attended this event in memory and support of loved ones who have been diagnosed with blood cancer. They were wearing team shirts with names and slogans like “Supporting the Fighters, Admiring the Survivors, Honoring the Taken and Never Ever Giving up HOPE!” others held pictures and banners for those they have lost.
Each attendee was given a t-shirt and a lantern in red, yellow, or white. White was for the survivors, Red for those in support and Yellow for remembrance.
My father has walked in the past and he carried a red lantern in support for my grandmother. This year we were one of hundreds of people carrying yellow. Last year, my father was volunteering at the Light the Night Walk when he received a call from my grandmother. She was feeling very sick and went to the hospital. There they told her that the treatments were no longer working and she would need to stay in the hospital or receive hospice at home. She chose to go home and spend her final days with her family.
In memory of my grandmother, we attended the Remembrance Ceremony they held in a tent where they read thirty names of those who lost their fight with cancer. They asked the participants to say a few words about their loved ones. The most impactful words were “Forever Five” among other words for Grandparents, Parents, Sons and Daughters. All ages were affected. Most family members were visibly grieving. It has been almost a year since my grandmother has passed and we have moved from grief and sorrow to celebrating her life and the time we had to spend with her.
After the ceremony, we moved on the launch of the walk. They had a speaker who was a five-year survivor and her family. They asked us to turn on our lanterns by color group, one at a time. You could see the night light up and it was very moving. The important part was those who had the white lights. They were the survivors and why we were there, to keep the fight alive and help raise money to put an end to blood cancer.
We walked in unison with thousands of people who share in the same goal. It was amazing to see all the lanterns in those three colors light up the Martin Luther King Drive. As we continued to walk, Fireworks lit up the sky. A sign of celebration and success for The Light the Night Walk.