Red, gold and white lanterns lit up the night in Pictou on Saturday as Pictou’s first Light The Night Walk raised $37,772.
Supporters, people remembering loved ones and survivors of blood cancer gathered to walk along the Jitney Trail and raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.
“It’s impressive. When I look around and see how many people are here, it’s definitely moving. I think it really speaks to that small-town community vibe that really come out and support one another,” said Trudy Dyer, regional director at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.
While the community has had many Walk With Reese events over the years, Dyer noted this was the first time the community has had an evening walk that coincided with walks taking place across the country.
“What we do wouldn’t really be possible without things like the Light The Night Walks,” Dyer said, adding the society funds research as well as patient education and support programs.
“We don’t want to see any family be left alone or left in a difficult situation when they’re facing a cancer diagnosis. We would not be able to do that without people that are showing up like tonight and supporting the cause and who feel so passionate about giving back.”
Several people spoke before the walk began, including Joe DiPenta, vice-president of development with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and 2007 Stanley Cup champion with the Anaheim Ducks. He shared why he got involved with the cause, telling a story of meeting a girl with leukemia at the IWK Health Centre while he was playing for the Halifax Mooseheads and seeing her again as a healthy teenager when he brought the Stanley Cup home for a parade.
“It was one of the most impactful moments of that day, which was an amazing day for me.”
Donna Murray spoke about walking in memory of her brother Paul Rudolph, who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011 and passed away in 2013.
“They say it takes a village. Tonight, we are that village,” Murray said, adding that she’s proud of what the community has accomplished.
“Unknowingly, Paul taught me many lessons during his illness. The most important one was never give up. Although Paul lost his battle, he believed there would be a day when no one would. This year, we honour his fight by lighting the night to help make his belief a reality.”
Supporters, survivors, and people remembering loved ones walked along the Jitney Trail in Pictou for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada on Saturday. (Jess photo)
INSET: RBC volunteer Sylvie Michaud writes a name on the back of a participant’s shirt during the Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada on Saturday. (Jess photo)