Last night I participated in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk in beautiful Wash Park in Denver, Colorado. Light the Night is a short, casual stroll that takes place every fall in cities across the United States and Canada and funds lifesaving research and support for people battling cancer. Friends, families and co-workers form fundraising teams and millions of consumers help by donating at retail outlets. At the walks, survivors carry white balloons. Supporters carry red. Those remembering lost ones carry gold. All of the balloons are illuminated with a small flashlight, creating a powerful vision of community and "bringing light to the dark world of cancer."
I walked last night to support my friend Ben and his family. Ben finished chemotherapy and radiation treatment for Hodgkins Lymphoma two years ago. I have never seen Ben without a smile. Never had a conversation with him that didn't leave me laughing. Ben and his wife generously welcomed and supported me and my family when we moved to Colorado a little over a year ago. They are kind, fun friends. I walked for Ben and his wife, and for their two young children, who were not much older than my own (4 and 7) when their father contracted this frightening disease.
There are a lot of walks (and runs and bike rides and swims and ...) out there these days for a variety of causes. Because they are so commonplace, you'd think they might lose their power. Quite the opposite. These opportunities to get physically active remain poignant opportunities for activism. They raise money, boost community awareness, and enable us to experience those rare moments in our crazy, busy lives where we can connect and show each other how very much we care.
p.s. I also walked for the sweet little girl in my daughter's dance class who I learned this past Tuesday is finishing a round of chemotherapy for leukemia.