Published On: Thu, Dec 1st, 2011

Light The Night Walk For A Good Cause

By Diane Feen

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 over 2,500 people came together on a Saturday night in November was to raise funds (and support) 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 that there was a 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 candle light 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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