In an effort to pay tribute and bring hope to people battling cancer, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society will hold their annual Light the Night walk and fundraising event at Railroad Park in Birmingham on Thursday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m.
Those walking carry an illuminated balloon – white for survivors, red for supporters, and gold for those who have lost a loved one to blood cancer. Last year’s event ended with fireworks, which could be seen by the children at Children’s of Alabama.
Campaign manager Kate Siqueria said, “We are so proud to be able to serve patients in our community. Last year, LLS provided $1.26 million in co-pay support to blood cancer patients in Alabama alone. Additionally, we have been able to fund $3 million in grants to UAB for blood cancer research. We are seeing the return on our donors’ investment in the number of new drugs and therapies being approved by the FDA. A typical year will see two to three new drugs and therapies approved for blood cancer.
“In 2017, there were 18, and LLS was fundamental in funding 15 of those. But we don’t want to stop funding research. Light the Night is about showing blood cancer patients and survivors the massive support of their community. We want to bring light to those who are in their darkest hour, and are so honored that we have the opportunity to do so, both literally and figuratively.”
Hayden’s Carroll Sparks, who was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2002, knows all too well how the word cancer affects one’s life. According to Sparks, her oncologist says her cancer is “smoldering.” Her blood counts have been monitored for several years and have continued to come down. She said, “I have been blessed with good results.”
Sparks believes that research is the key to finding a cure and encourages everyone to consider participating in this event by either joining an existing team, forming a team, or donating to LLS.
Sparks has lost two good friends, Becky Hazelrig and Paulette Nation, to blood cancer. Nation was the person who asked her to participate in the first fundraiser. Sparks said, “I see how devastating it can be to lose a loved one and this is why we work to find a cure. Advancements are being made and we have been blessed to see many lives saved through these advancements.
“Each year we see children growing up healthy that dealt with cancer far too early in life. The parents have dealt with a sick child but also managed to work on raising funds to cure cancer. We want to prevent the pain, suffering, and heartache that go along with cancer.”
Anyone interested in this event or donating can visit the LLS website at www.lightthenight.org. You can also contact Sparks at 647-3572.