First spark to light the night


           More than 80 “champions for cures” gathered at the Clearview Golf Course in Bayside recently, to kick off the 2010 “Light the Night” campaign for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).

            Since LLS conceived the idea in 1999, the all-night volunteer team walkathons have spread nationwide and to Canada, raising millions of dollars to help find a cure for blood cancers, including Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma.

On Wednesday, July 21, team organizers and supporters such as State Senator Frank Padavan and City Councilmember Dan Halloran networked and participated in a presentation dinner, learning new ways to make a difference in the fight against cancer.

This year, Queens participants hope to raise $223,000 through the Queens Light The Night Walk, in an effort to find cures and improve the lives of patients and their families, according to spokesperson Margaret Barng.

Last year, more than 11,500 people in the New York City area – 1,500 in Queens – participated in walks, raising more than $2.4 million. The hope is to far exceed the $215,976 raised in the borough in 2009.

“The Light The Night Kickoff events are our way to inspire participants in their fundraising efforts and to celebrate the beginning of a new Light The Night season,” said Michele Zellers, Senior Campaign Director for Light The Night.  “The energy and emotion is palpable and we are so thankful for the tremendous support from our Queens walkers,” she added.

            “We are the ones who should be thankful,” Halloran suggested.” The LLS does a spectacular job raising awareness and funds.” Padavan agreed, saying, “I’ve attended many such events over the years and it’s amazing how creative and dedicated they are.”

In Queens, the actual event will be on Saturday, October 16 at Forest Park.

Between then and now, expect to hear from friends and neighbors about Bowling Nights, Bar Party fundraisers, Ice Cream Socials and other creative fundraising ideas.

To learn more, visit www.lls.org or call 800-955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.