It was a warm, early fall evening on Friday, Sept. 25 with bright sunshine gradually giving way to a nearly full moon; the perfect setting for the 17th annual Light The Night® Walk in Delaware Park, to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Western & Central New York.
The Light The Night Walk celebrates and commemorates people whose lives have been affected by blood cancer. Individuals and teams of friends, families and co-workers join together to help raise funds in nearly 200 communities throughout the U.S.
The Martin Group (TMG) was a proud corporate sponsor of the Buffalo event. An estimated 3,000 participants, including members of Team TMG, helped raise a record-setting $440,000. That number is expected to climb even higher as donations are still coming in. Similar walks were held recently in Rochester and Syracuse.
It’s a pretty amazing sight to see Ring Road at Delaware Park lined with walkers carrying illuminated lanterns – white for cancer survivors, red for supporters and gold to honor the memory of those who have passed away. The following link, a fantastic drone video shot and produced by our friends at Black Horse Videography a year ago, provides an idea of what it looks like.
This was the fourth year I’ve had the honor of serving on the executive leadership committee for the Walk, working for several months leading up to the event in partnership with some very dedicated board members and volunteers, along with the incredible staff at the local chapter.
This year’s chair was Mike Bradley, senior vice president and chief financial officer of NOCO Energy Corp. His sister is a 30-year survivor. That’s not uncommon, as many on the leadership team are themselves cancer survivors or have a family member who has been impacted by cancer.
Thanks to Tod Martin at TMG these past two years and before that, Bob Travers and Bill Collins at Travers Collins, I have been able to spend a fair amount of otherwise billable time in order to provide pro bono media relations outreach and publicity to raise awareness for the Walk.
Due to the generosity of our community and the support we have received from members of the Buffalo area media — too numerous to name — the chapter has been able to help blood cancer patients live better, longer lives. Monies raised are spent locally to help fund two research projects in our region. The funds also help the organization provide vital patient aid and services to more than 5,000 local patients, along with educational programs, support groups and other services
LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancers. Since its inception in 1949, LLS has invested more than $1 billion to find cures for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma.
Critical treatment innovations have originated through blood-cancer research, including radiation, chemotherapy, stem cell transplantation and new targeted therapies. Nearly 50 percent of all FDA approved cancer drugs in the past decade were for blood cancer. Many are now being tested for other cancers and other illnesses.
Survival rates for children with lymphocytic leukemia (the most common childhood cancer) have risen from 3 percent to 90 percent since the 1960s. Hodgkin lymphoma patient survival rates have doubled to 88 percent over the same period of time.
Significant progress is being made to improve the lives of people living with blood cancer, but more help is needed. To learn more please visit www.lls.org and if you’d like to make a donation to the 2015 Walk, please go to www.lightthenight.org/wcny.