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Light the fight

Night Walk celebrates effort against cancer

Posted: October 14, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 14, 2012 2:00 a.m.

The Valencia High School cheerleaders, right, cheer on the hundreds of walkers as they participate in the Light the Night Walk to benefit leukemia and lymphoma research held at Bridgeport Park in Valencia on Saturday.

 

Even after the sun set Saturday, the sky was lit red, white and gold over Valencia’s Bridgeport Park.  

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk is a combination fundraiser, blood and bone marrow drive and community awareness event.

Attendees raise or donate money to go toward leukemia and lymphoma research in hope of eventually finding a cure for both.

During the walk, people held illuminated red, white and gold balloons. Red balloons were carried by those who supported the event, including those who had donated or raised money, white balloons were carried by people who had survived leukemia or lymphoma and gold balloons were carried to remember those who had died from the diseases.

This year’s event drew a crowd of around 1,500, and is expected to raise more than $200,000, according to Kimberly Ingram, an events manager for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Nationally, the society has a goal to raise $1.5 million this year from walks held around the nation.  

Ingram has worked with the society for two years and is herself a lymphoma survivor who has been in remission for more than 10 years.

“Santa Clarita really embraces this event,” Ingram said. “When you see everyone gathered like this, it really shows how the community is dedicated to finding a cure for these diseases.”

One such community member is Marina Contreras, the chairwoman of the Santa Clarita walk’s executive committee.

Contreras said she and her family attend the event every year to raise money for her 7-year-old nephew Evan Gabor, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007 when he was 23 months old. He is now 7, but suffered a relapse in April that required him to undergo a bone marrow transplant.

Contreras and her team of family, friends and those who Contreras describes as “friends of friends” have participated in the walk for six years, and have raised more than $100,000 in that time.

“(The event) is just magical, I can’t even describe it,” Contreras said. “We’re all out here, just looking for a cure. That’s what this is all about.”

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