Put on your walking shoes, grab your family, and get ready to light up the night. This fall, Light The Night walks will be taking place throughout the country, and it is a fabulous way to get your whole family involved in the beauty of giving back to a cause that matters.
Did you know that leukemia is the single most common cancer in children and teens? In fact, it accounts for almost 1 out of 3 childhood cancers.
A good friend of ours is a hematologist oncologist at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, one of the best hospitals in the country for treating children with blood cancers. Intelligent, fun, and kind, she and her husband are two of my very favorite people on the planet. Last time we were together, I asked her how she keeps such a positive spirit while doing a job that can undoubtedly be depressing. She replied, “Sure, the losses are awful. They are horrible, but they are few. With a timely diagnosis and the right care, most of these children can survive.” Then she said with a huge smile, “We can cure them.”
And now you can help them too. The Light The Night walk is a fundraising campaign of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), which brings together families and communities to honor blood cancer survivors, as well as those lost to the diseases. Their goal is to shine a light on both the importance of finding a cure for blood cancers and providing access to treatments for blood cancer patients.
One why this event is such a fantastic way to get kids involved in giving back is that this isn’t a hardcore 5k, 10k, triathlon or marathon. Anyone of any age can do this walk, and strollers are welcome too. Unlike many other fundraisers, at this one a leisurely pace is the norm, making it perfect for families to participate. While routes vary according to location, the walk should take under an hour to complete.
Though I have fortunately never had a child with leukemia or lymphoma, that friend I mentioned earlier is precisely the type of doctor I would want if I were in that situation. Unfortunately, I have a friend who lost her young son to leukemia at the age of two. She has since turned her unbearable grief into something amazing, starting a non-profit organization to help local families with a child suffering from cancer. My kids and I want to help in our own way too, so we are registered to walk in our local Light The Night event in our area this fall.
Let’s all be part of the club that is helping create a world without blood cancers. These inspirational, memorable evening walks will take place in almost 200 communities across North America. Each one features illuminated lanterns that represent people affected by blood cancer - white for survivors, red for supporters and gold in memory of lost loved ones.
You can register now to become part of a Light The Night walk near you. You can also click here to find a local team or create your own team. Need to find the most convenient local walk site for time and date information for you? No problem! There’s a list right on the website.
Around these parts we also love to support brands and companies who pay it forward. After being a sponsor of the 2013 walks, Sylvan Learning is expanding its relationship with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society this year. In 2014, they are planning to raise more than $250,000 to support the LLS through fundraising at its 800 franchise locations as well as through participation in Light the Night Walks across the country. Sylvan is also helping in the way it knows best, by lending support to young patients and providing them with scholarship funding. Local franchisees are also providing educational support to young patients in their communities as they transition back to school during or after treatment for leukemia or lymphoma.
So, as you are planning your calendar for the fall, include your local Light The Night walk. Put on those walking shoes, grab your family, and let’s make it an evening to remember for years to come as we light up the night and walk to the end of cancer.
Disclosure: I am a compensated ambassador for the Light the Night campaign. All opinions expressed here are my own.