Community members will have the chance to to walk together and shine a light on blood cancer at Light the Night Bundaberg on Friday, 11 October 2019.
The annual event is hosted by the Leukaemia Foundation will have a change of scene as it will be held at Alexandra Park for the first time since its local beginning in 2010.
Leukaemia Foundation Wide Bay community supporters coordinator Sue-Ellen Pitt said Light the Night was the only event focused on the local blood cancer community and it would help transform the darkness into a sea of glowing light to give hope to all those impacted by blood cancer.
“We do other events like World’s Greatest Shave, and have people who hold events for us as a fundraiser, but Light the Night is special,” Sue-Ellen said.
“It is our only event where we have current and former patients invited, where families who have lost someone to blood cancer can remember their loved ones publicly, and that supporters can come and hear inspiring stories and what the Leukaemia Foundation does and their plans for the future.”
Sue-Ellen said Bundaberg was one of the highest users of the Leukaemia Foundation’s accommodation facilities near major treatment centres.
“It is not that we have more people with a blood cancer here, but the distance between Bundaberg and Brisbane,” she said.
“Treatment generally can take between two months to two years, so we provide a home away from home while our local families are doing the hard yards.
“This is provided free of charge thanks to our supporters who fundraise for us, and to ease some of the sometimes-massive financial burden that can come with having to take time off work.
“Our accommodation services are incredibly important and appreciated by our regional families.”
New location for Light the Night Bundaberg
Sue-Ellen said the new location at Alexandra Park was ideal because it was smaller in size then the places where the event was held previously.
“I think Alexandra Park is a smaller area, but kept beautifully by Council, so it will be more intimate and scaled back. We will use the rotunda as the stage for our speakers and singers,” she said.
“There is a fabulous playground area for the youngsters, and I hope that being in central Bundaberg, it will attract locals who haven’t been before.
“The walk will also be shorter, and we have allowed for two laps of our route for those who are keen to keep going.”
She said it was a night to walk beside friends and family in support, or for people with leukaemia to reflect on their own blood cancer journey or to remember loved ones lost.
“We are proud to be hosting our local Light the Night event, which is a beautiful lantern walk that brings together people affected by blood cancer in our local community,” Sue-Ellen said.
Symbolic Light the Night lantern colours
Participants carry lanterns in symbolic colours of blue, white and gold on a beautiful, reflective walk.
- Gold – to remember loved ones lost.
- White – to honour those battling the disease, and those who have won the fight.
- Blue – to show support and hope for a cure for the future.
Sue-Ellen said there was also local ambassadors who would share their inspiring stories, before a lantern raising ceremony and walk.
Ambassadors take a stance for loved ones
The Light the Night Bundaberg White Ambassador Georgia Bennier will speak on behalf of the McGarry family who are currently in Brisbane for their daughter Sienna’s treatment.
Georgia and her husband Steve own Bundaberg Bridgestone Tyre Centre and believe supporting the Leukaemia Foundation is vital to help put an end to the childhood disease.
Georgia said Sienna was fighting a long and tough battle, but she was slowly getting better.
“Nobody should ever have to go through this,” she said.
“The more people in Bundaberg who attend the Light the Night the better, they will show support and help find an alternative treatment.
“It’s important, especially for the children.”
Georgia said she had now seen what blood diseases could do and thanked the Leukaemia Foundation for supporting the local families, such as the McGarrys.
“To see firsthand what the Leukaemia Foundation has done to support people in Brisbane while they undergo treatment, I know it’s a massive relief for the family,” she said.
“I will be speaking at the Light the Night event and hope all of the community can come along and show support to the families fighting.”
Future free from disease
Leukaemia Foundation CEO Bill Petch urged Australians to come together for an unforgettable experience in support of the blood cancer community to help work towards a future free from the disease.
“This is an opportunity for the community to band together and transform the darkness into an ocean of support to give hope to all those Australians impacted by blood cancer,” he said.
“Light the Night is a time for Australians to walk beside friends and family in support, to reflect on your own blood cancer journey, or to remember loved ones lost.”
Every day another 35 Australians are diagnosed with a blood cancer – the equivalent to one Aussie every 41 minutes.
Blood cancer still claims more lives than breast cancer and melanoma and sadly an Australian loses their life to blood cancer every two hours.
Mr Petch said funds raised by Light the Night would be directed into the Leukaemia Foundation's National Research Program to continue the fight for a cure.
“Light the Night lantern holders can become part of the solution, helping to support research to help more Aussies survive blood cancer and live a better quality of life.”
Light the Night Bundaberg details
Light the Night will be an inspiring walk at the Alexandra Park, Bundaberg held on 11 October with registrations taking place from 5pm.
The evening is for the whole family with entertainment and food available, including a barbecue by Bundaberg Lions.
A donation of $20 for a lantern on the night is suggested.
To reserve your lantern and sign up to walk click here.
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