FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Oct. 5, 2012
Ohio - Light the Night “Honored Ambassador” Kayleigh Crabtree was all smiles as
she posed for a team picture with “Kayleigh’s Crusaders,” her fifth-grade classmates
and Girl Scouts friends who have supported her during her two-year battle with
leukemia. But she was all business when
it came to standing on stage outside the Fraze Pavilion and telling hundreds of
Light the Night walkers what it’s like to be a little girl facing down a deadly
her mom Michelle took the stage together, as they did at the Leukemia &
Lymphoma Society Light the Night kick-off before the Dayton Dragons game in
August. It was mostly Michelle talking
and Kayleigh smiling at that event. But on Thursday, Oct. 4, the night of Light
the Night Walk, Kayleigh came ready with a speech she had written herself.
about the first signs of not feeling well, the diagnosis of leukemia, and her journey
into treatment. When she said, “The chemo made me sick and I lost my hair
twice,” you realized this little girl had found and used her courage many times
before being asked to simply say a few words to a large crowd.
“We all have
one thing in common,” she told them. “LLS has helped us all in one way or the
other.” That was enough to bring the
house down. They followed as Kayleigh as
she led the way through the balloon gateway out of Lincoln Park and into the
night for the fundraising walk. You
could easily believe they would follow her anywhere as long it meant sharing
the hope Kayleigh has for soon ending her treatment and making a full recovery.
It’s the same
hope shared by Jen Sagowitz, a Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, who stopped by
Community Blood Center’s tent and LAB before the walk. Her latest step toward beating the disease
was a stem cell transplant last January. “I’m doing good. I’m in remission
right now. Every three months I go for a PET scan. I have one Friday. Say a
She got a
smile from her husband Karl and a hug from her nine-year-old daughter Lexee, a
youth football cheerleader. “She’s one of my reasons for surviving,” she said.
Tom Beery of
Miamisburg also stopped by the CBC tent.
He’s a long-time friend of CBC with 160 lifetime donations. He was walking for his neighbor Ron Crouch who
was diagnosed with leukemia last summer. “I was asked to help. I wasn’t quite
sure how to attract donations then. I sent out emails on my list and it just
happened. The money came in.”
Manager Karen Carter understands. “Awesome”
is how she described the response to the 2012 Light the Night. “Our budgeted
goal was $137,000,” she said. “We made it before we even got here tonight.” It’s unofficial, but the event could end up
raising $150,000 for LLS and the fight against blood cancers.
The walk goes quickly, perhaps because
everyone seems to step lightly, buoyed it seems by the balloons they carry: red
by supporters, white
by survivors, and gold by those walking in memory of loved ones lost to cancer.
It’s never easy in this fight. Even the cost of helium to float those balloons
skyrocketed this year. The path of the walk and the journey through cancer is a
high-wire challenge fueled by hope and the commitment to never look back and always look up.
Copyright 2005 Community Blood Center