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Approximately 500 participants gathered at Norlin Quad on Saturday to support the Light the Night Walk.
The walk is a nationwide event publicized by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to raise money toward a cure for blood cancers.
“We provide hope,” said Joni Hart, 29, the senior campaign manager for LLS. “I lost a very close friend the week before last. It was a reminder of why we do what we do. It’s the best job in the world.”
For the past nine years, Boulder has been one of many Colorado cities to host this two-mile walk. Each year, walkers receive a balloon to carry with them. The red balloon signifies a supporter, the white balloon signifies a survivor and the gold balloon is carried in memory of those who fell victim to cancer.
At 7 p.m., the walkers congregated to form a sea of red, white and gold. Despite the heartbreaking tales of survival and pain, there was a sense of optimism throughout the event.
CU alumnus and organizer of this event, Amanda Hosford, 24, lost her sister, Danielle, four years ago to bone cancer and is currently recovering from thyroid cancer.
Steve Bloch, another CU alumnus and Leukemia patient, participates because the funding from LLS has helped provide Gleevac, the medical treatment that saved his life.
Gleevac is a substitution for chemotherapy developed by Dr. Brian Druker at the University of Oregon. It is a signal transduction inhibitor, which stops the genetic mutations of cells that spread cancer.
He spoke about his battle with cancer.
“It changes everything. I went from being a very active guy who liked to mountain climb to almost unable to work,” he said.
Bloch is only one of 785,000 people in the nation with blood cancer. Every five minutes, someone else is diagnosed with it.
There will be another Light the Night Walk in Denver on Sept. 27. Over 4,000 participants are expected to attend.
There is no minimum donation to walk and many sponsors, such as Chipotle and The Melting Pot, provide free food and beverages. LLS is hoping to earn somewhere in the realm of $1 million to save lives this year.
Visit LLS’s Web site for more information.
Contact Campus Press staff writer Sarah Stern at firstname.lastname@example.org