The season of charity walk-a-thons continues with the Light The Night series of walks for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Michigan. In five cities across the state, walkers will come together to raise money and awareness for blood cancer. They will also honor those lost to the illness or who are currently struggling.
Leukemia is a disease marked by the abnormal production of blood cells, most commonly white blood cells. Lymphoma affects the cells of the immune system. There are many variations of each disease, and it can reach people of any age, though it is most common in people over 60. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society estimates that nearly 75,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lymphoma each year. They also estimate that over 44,000 adults and 4,200 children are diagnosed with Leukemia annually.
Light The Night walks take place across the United States and Canada, offering those touched by blood cancer a chance to honor survivors and lost friends and family members, as well as raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Funds raised will go toward conducting blood cancer research, providing educational materials and financial assistance to patients and those in need and funding the organization’s peer-to-peer counseling program.
The first walk kicks off in metro Detroit on Friday, Oct. 2, with hundreds of supporters expected to gather at Memorial Park at the corner of 13 Mile and Woodward in Royal Oak.
Unlike many other fundraising walks, Light The Night walks take place in the evening. The sky will be full of lit-up balloons, which gives the event its name. White balloons will be carried by blood cancer survivors, gold will be in memory of loved ones lost, and the bold red balloons that make up the bulk of the procession will be carried by supporters of cancer victims.
Walks are scheduled to take place on Oct. 2 in Royal Oak, on Oct. 10 in Ann Arbor and Grand Rapids, on Oct. 16 in Wyandotte and on Oct. 17 in Kalamazoo.
Each walk pays homage to one “Honored Hero,” a blood cancer victim who is struggling with disease, as well as gives people the chance to come together and share their stories. This year’s Honored Hero is Naomi Garcia, and the national spokesperson is comedian and actress Tina Fey.
The Michigan walks vary in distance, but are typically done at a relaxed pace that takes about an hour. There are no physical requirements to walk. Walkers can register on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Web site http://www.lightthenight.org, or contact Stephanie Holland for more information at 248-581-3893, or by e-mail at [email protected]
Upcoming Light The Night walks:
6 p.m. Oct. 2
W. 13 Mile Road and Woodward Ave, Royal Oak
6 p.m. Oct. 10
Community High School
401 N. Division Street, Ann Arbor
6 p.m. Oct. 10
Greater Grand Rapids YMCA
475 Lake Michigan Drive NW, Grand Rapids
6 p.n. Oct. 16
Biddle Street and Elm Street, Wyandotte
6 p.m. Oct. 17
200 W. South St., Kalamazoo