WOW, it has been a long time since we have been in Southern California in September. However, due to our 3 month plan of visiting our kids and grandson Isaac, this year we ended up there mid-September to mid-October. This is exciting because it meant that we were with our family for the Jewish Holidays and that Steve and I could attend the Light the Night Walk – the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s annual 5K walk.
This is the walk that I started at Angel’s Stadium 16 years ago. I was the Campaign Manager and I took it from a $10,000 walk to a $250,000 walk in just three years!! It now raises over $1,000,000!! It is said that this is a legacy that I left to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Something that I worked very hard for and I am very proud of.
Mike Hunter’s Team – supporting a family team that started with me 16 years ago. Mike Hunter lost his battle with cancer when he was just 32 years old. I met Barbara, his mom and Vicki, his sister 16 years ago when I was the Campaign Manager of the Light the Night Walk. They shared their touching family story about Mike’s diagnosis, treatment and passing. I wanted to help them by doing something that would give them a way to have a positive impact on others and keep Mike’s memory alive. I asked them if they would like Mike to be the Light the Night “Memorial Honoree”. Both Barbara and Vicki jumped at the opportunity and for the three years that I was Campaign Manager, Mike was the Memorial Honoree. They became volunteers on my committee. Their family has done the walk every year since. They just celebrated their 17th year doing the walk. They have created a large team that raises a lot of money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, helping to fund research and support patient’s needs. They also have Mike’s Teams in other states walking and raising funds. I worked with LLS National 16 years ago to get Mike’s Team to become the first Light the Night National Family Team in the country.
Each walker carried a Lighted Chinese Lantern throughout the walk – A White one if you are a Survivor or a Patient, A Red one if you are a Supporter, and A Gold one if you are walking in Memory of someone.
This year there was a Survivors’ Circle where all of us gathered before the walk began to turn on the lights in our Chinese Lantern together and acknowledge the amazing survival rate for blood cancers. It was a very moving moment and I experienced a flood of emotion run through me as I reflected on how long we have been cancer survivors – Steve is 31 years and I am 17 years. Also you realize that you are not alone in this fight to find a cure and beat cancer. You are doing it together.
For me the walk was emotional, inspirational and empowering, as I reminisced about what I created here 16 years ago and how much it has grown in attendance, money raised and awareness of blood cancers.
I started the walk here at Angels Stadium 16 Years Ago and it is still going as strong!!
Here’s to finding a cure!!