The Connecticut chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) hosted its Light The Night Walk kick-off event last week for Newtown’s event. This year’s Walk is scheduled for Saturday, September 28, at Newtown Youth Academy Sports & Fitness Center.
Light The Night, LLS’s annual fundraising walk held in communities throughout the country, features teams of co-workers, families, and friends walking together in twilight holding illuminated balloons — white for survivors, red for supporters, and gold to remember those who have died. The walk, which commemorates lives touched by blood cancers, is a celebration, with music, refreshments, and family activities.
The kick-off last week offered the public the opportunity to meet LLS representatives, learn how to help LLS in its mission, and even reconnect with fellow participants. Among those gathered were current and former blood cancer patients, family members, and friends. There were a few newcomers to Light The Night, but a show of hands indicated that the majority of those in the room were returning LTN veterans.
Newtown has hosted its own walk since 2009, raising funds and awareness for those afflicted by blood cancers as well as improving the quality of life for patients and their families. In 2012, Newtown’s Light The Night raised $72,000. Ms Angell said that this year’s goal is to raise at least $88,300.
Participants of all ages are welcome to take part in fundraising, as well as to attend Light The Night. On Thursday evening, LLS-CT Campaign Manager Kristin Angell offered a listing of A–Z Fundraising Tips for all attendees, some of whom have already launched their fundraising efforts.
“I love to see this jam-packed room,” she said, speaking to a group of nearly 50 people who had gathered in the party room of My Place Restaurant. “This is fantastic.”
LLS has launched a new national campaign, called “Someday Is Today.” Ms Angell talked about the campaign, which celebrates the acceleration of blood cancer cures to save more lives “now, not just down the road,” she said. “We are saving lives today.”
Dina Carelli, deputy executive director of LLS-CT, then offered a brief overview of the mission of LLS, research news, and a reminder of patient services the society offers, including support groups, financial aid and education, and advocacy.
Lindsey Shellman, a survivor of stage 4 lymphoma, offered her story of survival. The diagnosis, treatment and recovery of her cancer, she said, has changed her perspective on life.
“Today I have so much to be grateful for,” she said. “I’m walking proof that research and development changes and saves lives.”
According to LLS, in 2012 Connecticut had 550 new cases of leukemia diagnosed, 1,000 new cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, 140 new cases of Hodgkin’s lymphoma and 260 new cases of myeloma. Nationally, LLS has invested more than $875 million over the past 60-plus years to develop blood cancer therapies; funded research that has developed the cancer killing drugs Gleevec, Velcade, Dacogen, Kyprolis, and Revlimid; and advanced research into antibody drugs that stimulate anti-cancer immunity.
“Many of these drugs approved by the FDA were first developed for blood cancer patients,” Ms Angell pointed out last week.
Also attending Thursday’s event were Ginny Chion, Allison DosSantos, and Ivy Pearson, volunteers and members of the Newtown Light The Night Committee.
Light The Nights begin at 5 pm with registration, and time for dinner for those who have raised at least $100. A Remembrance Ceremony begins at 6:15, with attendees celebrating and commemorating lives touched by cancer. Opening ceremonies follow, with guest speakers including local Honored Heroes, and then the walk begins by 7.
In addition to Newtown’s event, Connecticut’s 2013 Light The Night events are scheduled for Saturday, October 5, in New Haven; Thursday, October 17, in South Windsor; and Friday, October 18, in Norwalk.
For information about joining a team, individual fundraising, or any of the Light The Night events, contact LLS-CT campaign managers Kristen Angell at 203-665-1451 or Kristen.Angell@lls.org or Tessa Ruggeri at 203-427-2062 or Tessa.Ruggeri@lls.org; or visit www.LightTheNight.org/ct.
Bowling, Yoga For A Cure
Local teams will ramp up their fundraising efforts over the next six weeks. Among the public events coming up are open bowling and Yoga For A Cure.
Katherine James, team captain for the Dear Jack team registered for the 2013 Newtown Light the Night Walk, has organized an event to raise money for her team. Join in unlimited games of bowling at Lore’s Lanes, 145D Danbury Road in New Milford, on Saturday, August 17, from 4:30 to 7 pm.
Tickets are $15 and include all games during that time, shoe rental, a slice of pizza, and a soft drink. Tickets should be purchased in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 203-551-4687. The ticket price, minus costs to the bowling alley, and all funds collected through a 50-50 raffle and a raffle for prize items, will all go directly to the Connecticut chapter of LLS.
Amie Meleshkewich of Flow To Fit Yoga is joining forces with Team “AHH...Always Have Hope!” for their second annual Yoga For A Cure fundraiser on Friday, September 13, at 7 pm, at The Graceful Planet in Sandy Hook.
A donation of $25 is requested with all proceeds to benefit LLS. Each participant will receive a special Light The Night gift bag and bottle of water.
Last year’s Yoga For A Cure event raised just over $300. This year the team hopes to reach $500.
Graceful Planet is at 7 Berkshire Road. For more information or to reserve your spot at Yoga For A Cure, RSVP to Ivy Pearson at email@example.com or 203-426-1002.
Local teams also planning events to raise funds for LLS’s Newtown Light The Night event are encouraged to contact The Newtown Bee with information. Fundraisers must fully benefit LLS in order to be publicized in The Newtown Bee. Contact Associate Editor Shannon Hicks at 203-426-3141 or firstname.lastname@example.org.