I am an Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Survivor, diagnosed in 2008
In 2008, I attended my first Light The Night walk in a wheelchair and wearing a mask, with my 9 month old daughter in my lap. This year will be my 13th Light The Night walk, and I can’t imagine not participating.
My biggest challenge in my blood cancer experience was learning to accept help. Before my diagnosis I considered myself fiercely independent. I was always willing to help anyone, at any time but hesitant to ask for help myself. I had to learn how to accept help. One of my close friends created a schedule of helpers to assist me and my parents in caring for my baby. Every morning and evening for the next 6 months a friend came to help at home which really was a gift. I’m very thankful for everyone who helped me so that I could solely focus on getting better. The emotional aspects of facing a stem cell transplant were also very challenging. I was stepping into territory that was unknown in terms of the actual outcome. I remember being at my daughter’s baptism and wondering whether I would be alive for her other milestones. This was upsetting and frightening to think I may not be around to see her grow up.
Light The Night is a reminder of how far I’ve come. Through my journey into remission I have directly benefited from the advancements in blood cancer research. Now I am able to help others by fundraising. Light The Night is a night of remembering and reconnection. It feels like my second birthday as friends and family come together at the Walk to be with me and celebrate my continued good health.