In February of 2008, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. That year, my coworkers formed a Light the Night team as a way to rally around me and show their support as I began my two year journey to kick cancer’s butt! The Light the Night Walk is the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) annual fundraising event. The walk starts at dusk and everyone carries a lantern that is lit from within. There are three different types of lanterns: a red lantern shows support, a white lantern represents a survivor, and a gold lantern represents the memory of a lost loved one. It pays tribute to those who have fallen to this terrible disease and brings hope to those still battling cancer. This Thursday, CMB will be participating and walking as a team for the seventh year in a row.Since we started the walk, we have raised over $65,000 for LLS. And, in true CMB fashion, we had fun doing it. In the weeks leading up to the walk, we do a variety of events to excite and inform CMBers about LLS and their mission. For example, every year we sell tickets to a lunch courtesy of our resident champion BBQ master, Jared Huizenga. During the lunch, we also hold a silent auction and the items up for sale—homemade lunches, handmade scarves, photo editing sessions, etc.— give my coworkers a chance to showcase their diverse talents.
As a cancer survivor, it means so much to me that something as negative as a cancer diagnosis could result in such a positive movement by CMB. Their participation with the Light the Night Walk is just one example of how my work family helped me through a very difficult time. There were many others: the daily visits from coworkers to help me countdown to the end of chemo and the easy acceptance of my wig, my scarf, or my bald head—whichever I chose to wear that day.
LLS funds research with the goal of curing blood cancers. It provides support to patients and their families, and I (as well as countless others) have personally benefited from this research. Due in no small part to the advances made from this very research, I will celebrate five years in remission next May. I was the recipient of a lifesaving stem cell transplant and proton radiation therapy…and these are just two examples of the advanced therapies now available because of LLS. Thanks to them, I will be holding my white lantern high this Thursday.
From the LLS website: When LLS was founded in 1949, a blood cancer diagnosis was almost always fatal. Thanks in part to innovative research funded by LLS, survival rates have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled for blood cancer patients. Today, cancer research in one area helps across all types of cancers. One example of this is the approval of the revolutionary drug Gleevac. The 10-year survival rate for certain blood cancer patients improved from 1 in 10 to nearly 9 in 10.
We’re a small company trying to make a big difference. If you’d like to join us in the fight against cancer, please donate here or join us on Thursday at 5PM in the Boston Common.
Catherine Shannon is the Director of Finance at CMB. She’s a two time cancer survivor who is happy to say that she’ll celebrate five years in remission next May, and she looks forward to Light the Night tomorrow.