Light The Night
November 6, 2004 3:40 PM
A trail of bobbing lighted balloons curves alongside the Embarcadero, contrasting distinctly from the clear black night sky. The balloons are held by families, friends, company teams and civic groups who raised funds and walk to support and commemorate the lives touched by cancer.
The Archbishop Riordan High School band jumpstarted, "The Light the Night Walk," the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's annual nationwide evening walk, at the Justin Herman Plaza, that celebrates and honors the lives affected by cancer.
"Everyone's a brother or a sister," said 17 year-old band player Mario Melara, holding his saxophone. we are all one community. Why not help? Even if you don't know someone who is afflicted with Leukemia, it doesn't matter, you can just help."
"If you can't support financially then I think just contributing with your time and effort and coming out and showing the survivors here support," said 29 year-old Jill LeVan wearing a ,śLight the Night" button and a śLivestrong" bracelet.
Last Saturday, marked the sixth year the event has been held in San Francisco. There are 63 chapters across the country holding similar events. This particular event raised $225,000.
More than a walk, Light the Night is a community celebration and coming-together, with food, music and family activities, providing help and hope for thousands of cancer patients and their families.
Kirsten Wolberg, a chair member for two years, came in support of her husband Mark Wolberg who is a survivor of lymphoma.
"When something like that happens to you, you find there's not a lot you can
"I'm very passionate and committed to raising money to fight cancer," says Wolberg, with her four year-old daughter Margo at her side.
"It's a really easy event to do," says Casey Shaughnessy, Public & Media Relations manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. "Some of the marathons that require a lot more demanding exercise are sometimes inaccessible to people. This is wonderful; it's a really easy evening walk, so the whole family can come out."
An archway of red and white balloons floats above the supporters as they flood the finish way. Melisa Montoya, a 28 year-old campaign manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, cheers finishers with a group of friends.
"My grandfather passed away from lymphoma a few years ago, so this is something that is close to my heart, something that I love doing everyday, says Montoya. "This the epitome of support right here."
A woman who wishes to remain anonymous came to the event in hopes of creating awareness about the deadliness of cancer. Her late husband passed away last month from acute leukemia. "I hadn't realized it was such a dreadful disease," said the mother holding her sleeping baby on her shoulder. "I thought it was quite curable so it came as a big shock," said the woman with teary eyes.
The Odyssey, a jazz band, played for the remainder of the event which ended around 9PM. Children danced on the pavement surrounded by the murmur of conversations from their parents.
"I got goosebumps really," said Shane Ashley, lead singer of the Odyssey, looking at the white paper bags glowing from lit candles on the stage. "Looking at all the people with the balloons. There's just so much faith in here right now, it's really good. It makes me feel good."
"We want to thank everyone who helped make tonight possible from our sponsors to our volunteers to you guys for coming out tonight," announces Renee Richardson, KFOG deejay.
It's great to see the community out here with all the kids and the strollers; it's just great," said LeVan with a chuckle.
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