Published On: Fri, Nov 25th, 2011

Light the night, Walk for a good cause in Boca Raton

We all met at the Sunset Cove Amphitheater on a perfect fall
evening. The purpose was larger than the sum total of our parts and
the outcome matched the sheer determination of the crowd.

The reason that more than 2,500 people came together on a
Saturday night in November was to raise funds (and support) for
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Teams of people were there
to support their loved ones and to remember those who have been
taken by this disease. To accomplish this, The Light the Night Walk
was created.

It was a night of camaraderie and compassion punctuated by a real
cause that is near and dear to everyone’s heart that attended. “I
started doing this walk the year my daughter Bree was diagnosed
with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008. Although Bree has been in
remission for three years I will continue to do this every year to raise
money for research,” said team leader Gayle Stevens, who is a
Community Liaison at Vitas Innovative Hospice Care.

It is Gayle who rallied her group to raise funds and come out to the
farthest part of West Boca Raton to join a cause whose mission is
a worthy one. There were many teams at the park with names like
Team Mike, Team Jason, Stuart’s Friends & Family, Positive Power
People, Mike Blackman’s Family, Friends & Temple Beth El and my
team VITAS – It’s a Bree’z (started by Stevens).

What made it such a heart-warming evening was the real sense of
kinship – even though many of those attending had never met before.
And there was so much food, with most teams sharing their good
bounty with friends and strangers. But the food was sustenance for
a group who gathered together to hear stories of survival (and loss)
and who walked two miles in the dark with balloons and flickering
necklaces.

There was also a candlelight Ceremony of Remembrance to honor
those who have been taken from us. We were told, “There is no quick

fix for grief, but it helps to share your feelings with people who care.”

We also read the Litany of Remembrance by Roland Gittelsohn and
repeated “We Remember them” after each prayer was said. “In the
rising sun and in its going down we remember them – In the blueness
of the sky and in the warmth of summer – we remember them and
when we have joys we year to share – we remember them.”

After the sun had set and pictures were taken it was time to walk.
And walk we did – for two miles in a group made up of young people,
senior citizens and everyone in between. We walked for comfort, we
walked for a cure and we walked to let everyone know it was time
to make a difference. It was also a time to gather and remember –
because that is the only way we can avoid forgetting.

If you are interested in joining a group next year (or want to join
VITAS – It’s a Bree’z) go to http://www.lightthenight.org/register/ or go
to http://www.lightthenight.org/what/ for more information about the
Light the Night Walk and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
You’ll be glad you did.

PS. There is still time to donate to a team.

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