Annual Light the Night Walk in Red Deer this month

Community walk to support those affected by blood cancers

The second annual Light the Night Community Walk is right around the corner.

Put on by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, the 3 km walk will take place Sept. 16th at Bower Ponds. The walk is held to support those affected by blood cancers, also including people who have other cancers too.

“As an organization we decided to have community walks to help increase awareness as well as to raise money for blood cancer research,” said Melanie Seneviratne, fund development manager for the Society.

The first walk in Red Deer raised just under $13,000.

Participants will walk together carrying illuminated lanterns.

“Supporters walk with red lanterns, patients and survivors walk with white lanterns and those walking in memory of a lost loved one walk with gold lanterns,” said Seneviratne.

The Society’s mission, she said, is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin disease and myeloma, as well as improve the quality of life for their patients, caregivers and their families.

“I love doing the community walks personally because when you’re in the smaller towns, it really pulls people together and you can just see that solidarity.”

She said when comparing this walk to the one done in Calgary, this one is much smaller, which she said is what makes it so great.

“The one thing I really love about it is that I noticed in Red Deer, we had a few people that walked that had absolutely no correlation to a blood cancer, but they still participated,” she said, adding that it’s a family-friendly walk.

The Society does 11 national walks, with an average of $6 million raised a year in Canada.

She said one statistic worth noting is that leukemia is the number one cancer in children under the age of 14.

“One of the most common pediatric cancers is one type of leukemia called Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and in 1964 the survival rate was 3 per cent and today it’s over 90 per cent,” said Seneviratne.

She said 40 of the 67 FDA approved cancer drugs, (in the U.S) actually originated through their organization.

“These are drugs that cover all cancers, but they originated through us because it’s really easy to test blood and do research on blood.”

To register for the walk visit www.lightthenight.ca.

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