Light The Night Walk supports cancer research

By Roxana Amparo, News Editor

Contra Costa College’s PsyR Soul Helpers Light The Night team will raise funds for further blood cancer research at the East Bay Light The Night Walk.
The walk will be on Oct. 25 at Civic Park in Walnut Creek. The walk begins at 7 p.m.
The Light The Night Walk is an annual fundraiser that supports the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) research and helps advance treatments, cooperative education instructor Mary Johnson said.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the largest non-profit health organization that is dedicated to funding blood cancer research. It advocates on the local and national levels, striving to motivate supporters to join the cause, Johnson said.
This year, Johnson and CCC’s PsyR Soul Helpers Light The Night team extends its invitation to students, friends and families to join them, she said.
Johnson has carried a tradition with her fall classes that has invested toward the cure for blood cancer. They want to motivate others to take a stance with them.
“An individual does not get cancer, a family does,” HSI STEM coordinator Kelly Ramos said.
Ramos’ 4-year-old son Joey is currently going through treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).
ALL is a fast-growing cancer that produces a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes. Lymphocytes do not fight off infections and prevent the bone marrow from making the normal red blood cells and white blood cells necessary.
Research has immensely changed the outcome of individuals throughout the years and with growing support continues to thrive, Light The Night Walk campaign specialist Jennifer Shah said.
“Since the 1960s blood cancer patients’ survival has not only doubled, but tripled,” Shah said.
The survival rate for cancer patients was 4 percent back in the 1960s, but now, thanks to advanced research, for many, it is 90 percent.
The LLS has reached the $1 billion mark and continues to gain support. The investment has not only touched the lives of blood cancer patients and their families, but those afflicted by other diseases as well, she said.
“I want to focus my energy in a more positive way and go forward,” Johnson said.
“PsyR soul Helpers help from the soul,” she said. Their goal is to raise $1,000 toward blood cancer research this year.
In the Light The Night Walk supporting teams carry different colored lanterns that signify different things.
Carrying a red lantern represents walking in support of someone, a white lantern represents survivors or current patients and a gold lantern represents walking in memory of someone, Shah said.
Every walker who raises $100 or more becomes a Champion for Cures and receives a lantern, T-shirt and dinner the night of the walk, Shah said.
Raising $1,000 or more makes the walker a Bright Light and he or she has access to VIP treatment and other bright light gear, she said.
“It’s a family friendly event,” Shah said. “It’s team building to raise cancer cures.”
Teams can help raise funds and improve the quality of someone’s life, she said.