By Dan Majka
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Sunday evening, November 9, thousands of people will take part in the Light the Night Walk in Philadelphia. One of hundreds held in the fall nationwide, the event honors blood cancer survivors, as well as those lost to the diseases, and it shines a light on the importance of finding a cure.
“Light the Night Walk is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s largest fundraiser,” says Ellen Rubesin, Executive Director of the Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter for the LLS. “It is a walk that funds life-saving research and support of people battling cancer.”
Rubesin says friends, families and coworkers for fundraising teams get together for an inspirational and memorable evening that begins and ends at the Philadelphia Art Museum.
“It’s an out and back walk,” she says. “It’s not a super exerting, long walk. It’s about a little under 2.5 miles. It’s very family friendly, it’s stroller-friendly, it’s really an event for the whole family to participate in.”
Rubesin says there are fundraising walks almost every weekend at the Art Museum, but nothing quite like you’ll see at the Light the Night Walk.
“It’s an evening walk,” she says. “And we carry lanterns. All of the participants in the walk carry these paper lanterns, and they’re coded by color. People who hold the gold lanterns are walking in memory of someone, people holding the red lanterns are walking in support of someone, and people holding the white lanterns are survivors. It’s quite an impactful sight when you see it.”
Nearly 1.1 million people are affected by some form of blood cancer. Rubisen says finding a cure for those diseases can go a long way in the fight against other types of cancer.
“The research that’s done for blood cancers can apply to other cancers,” she says. “So many people are affected by cancer that, in a sense, walking and raising funds for LLS and blood cancer is walking and raising funds for cancer in general.”
People can walk individually. Although, Rubesin says many of the participants are family members or coworkers who walk together as a team. She says many of them begin raising money up to nine months in advance.
“They’ve reached out to their families, friends, corporate contacts and they’ve begun to fundraise via email,” she says. “All of these funds go towards their teams, and then we have all types of fun competitions for the family and the corporate teams that raise the most money.”
The hope in Philadelphia is to raise $1 million. A goal the LLS is confident it will reach.
“We have 6,000 walkers that we anticipate will walk,” Rubisen says. “We have sponsors. So many of the corporations in the area are sponsoring the event, and additionally we have all of our teams and individuals walking.”
The event takes place Sunday, November 9 at 4:30pm at the Philadelphia Art Museum. Before the walk, participants will hear inspirational stories of survival from honored heroes who’ve fought and beat blood cancer. Following the walk, everyone will be treated to a special ending that will light the night again.
“We’ll have fireworks, which not every walk does,” Rubesin says. “We are having fireworks as the end of the evening celebration.”
People can also mail donations to LLS, Eastern Pennsylvania Chapter, 555 North Lane, Suite 5010, Conshohocken, Pennsylvania 19428.
Check out the full podcast:
You may also be interested in: