Health

Sharing stories at Light The Night Walk for blood cancer

'Tomorrow is going to be a better day'

Grace and Bailey Brown hold gold lanterns in memory of a family friend before the Light The Night Walk for blood cancer.
Grace and Bailey Brown hold gold lanterns in memory of a family friend before the Light The Night Walk for blood cancer.   Megan Fraser

Cancer survivor Lynn Sloan sits in a camping chair with her bright white lantern, as she waits for her fundraising team at the Light The Night Walk at Halifax’s Garrison Grounds.

With the hope of ending blood cancer, over 1,500 participants in Halifax like Sloan gathered to raise money in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada.

Sloan finished her treatment the day before the walk. In remission nine months after being diagnosed with leukemia, she says she feels bad for children with cancer.

“I never thought of myself the whole time. I never said ‘why me?’ I say ‘why the little kids?’” says Sloan, tears in her eyes.

Sloan (far right) and her family before the walk.
Lynn Sloan, far right, and her family before the walk.   Megan Fraser

Each lit lantern shares a walker’s relation to the cause: white for blood cancer patients and survivors, red for supporters and gold in memory of the deceased.

Katie Brown says she participated in Saturday night’s walk in memory of one of her mother’s friends.

“Her father, aunt, uncle and cousin are all walking, so we’re here to support them.”

It was the sixth annual Light The Night in Halifax, raising $1.7 million for blood cancer research in the past five years. Saturday tacked on another $603,826 to the Halifax total.

Krissy Arbuckle, fund and development manager of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada, says the walk in Halifax is getting “bigger and better” every year.

“More money raised, more participants out,” says Arbuckle.

Before the walk there was an opening ceremony to hear survivor’s experiences and a remembrance ceremony to honour loved ones lost.

Sloan, who lives in Halifax, raised more than $2,000 in one month making baskets for raffle ticket draws. Participation and a positive attitude in life, she says, is key.

“I used to say ‘tomorrow is going to be a better day,’ and it was. If not, the next day.”

Although this is Brown’s first Light The Night, she encourages people to participate.

“I think it’s a great thing to do,” she says. “Especially if you can go out and support people who are going through a really rough time.”