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Reston Town Center Lights the Night

Annual walk raises funds for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Walkers at the annual Light the Night Walk participate in the annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Saturday, Oct. 20 at Reston Town Center.

Walkers at the annual Light the Night Walk participate in the annual fundraiser for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Saturday, Oct. 20 at Reston Town Center. Photo by Alex McVeigh.

— Thousands of blood cancer patients, survivors, caretakers, and family and friends of those who have passed away from the disease gathered at Reston Town Center Saturday, Oct. 20 to take part in the annual Light the Night Walk, held by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The annual event invited all those who have been touched by leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, myeloma and other blood cancers to come together and rally as one. Participants carried balloons of various colors to indicate the way cancer has affected their lives.

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Supporters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society participate in the annual Light the Night Walk at Reston Town Center Saturday, Oct. 20.

Current cancer patients and survivors carried white balloons, supporters and caregivers carried red balloons and those who walked in memory of a loved one carried gold balloons.

"Cancer as a whole is a terrible, insidious disease, but blood cancers are really awful,” said Jenni Resaca of Reston, who lost her mother to leukemia. “My mom had a slow onset of symptoms, and before we knew it, she was too far gone to help. I come to events like this to make sure no one goes through what we, and millions of others, have gone through.”

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. They provide funds to advance research for diagnosis and treatment, as well as connecting patients with support services.

The Reston Town Center walk was the third in the region during the month of October. Participants started at the pavilion, made their way down Market Street, to Crescent Park Drive and around the small lake that borders Fairfax County Parkway.

Many who participated said they enjoyed meeting people who came together to support a common goal.

“This disease causes a lot of pain, heartache and misery, but events like tonight are uplifting because not only are people united by the same thing, but people are coming to have a good time and celebrate the positive,” said Ethan Jones of Chantilly, whose sister is a survivor. “It’s nice to have some pleasant thoughts and good memories of people who are trying their best to make sure this disease gets wiped out soon.”

More information about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society can be found at www.lls.org.