Every year, more than 200 communities across North America take steps to end blood cancer by participating in the Leukemia & Lymphona Society's Light The Night Walks. This year, two West Michigan communities—Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo—are taking to the streets.
The Leukemia & Lymphona Society (LLS) exists to find cures and ensure access to the best available treatments for all blood cancer patients: those diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma. The organization invites everyone to join the cause by walking, donating, sponsoring or volunteering at Light The Night Walk events.
"It gives me hope that we can one day find a cure for leukemia and lymphoma," said Mark Dykema, who lost his sister Shannon Schamback to leukemia in March 2017.
In honor of Shannon's legacy, Mark, his brother-in-law Justin Schamback and their family are participating in the upcoming Light The Night Walk in Grand Rapids.
Currently, there are no means of preventing or early screening for most blood cancers. Funds raised by Light The Night support the LLS mission to advocate for lifesaving treatments, pioneer the most promising cancer research, and provide patient support services.
Light The Night is about more than raising funds, however.
Together, patients, survivors and families affected by cancer offer a community of support. Mark notes Light The Night is an opportunity to unite.
"It's a community that can rise up around those who have just started their fight, or are in the midst of their fight."
Light The Night will generate light and warmth—delivering hope and life-saving research and support for cancer patients and their families—in Grand Rapids on September 30, 2017, and in Kalamazoo on October 30, 2017. Both events start at 5:30 p.m.
Photo courtesy of Light in the Night.