LLS Light the Night Walk 2018

Light the night to find a cure for cancer.

Photo+credit+to+the+Leukemia+and+Lymphoma+Society.+

Photo credit to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

If you were to pass Kate Stevens in the hallway, you would think that she’s just your typical Rye High junior. She’s extremely dedicated to her schoolwork, she plays on the varsity field hockey team, and she’s the friendliest person you’ll ever meet. But there’s something about her you might not know. By looking at Kate, you’d never be able to tell that when she was five years old, she was diagnosed with AML leukemia.

Kate’s incredible story is one of perseverance. After a year of hospital stays and chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant helped eradicate Kate’s cancer. She defied the odds and grew up to be a strong, inspiring teenager. Just last year, Kate celebrated 10 years of being cancer-free, a major milestone for a cancer survivor. But the most amazing part of Kate’s story isn’t just that she survived; it’s how she turned a horrible situation into a chance to help prevent other kids from receiving the same diagnosis.

5 year old Kate while undergoing chemotherapy. Photo credit to Kate Stevens.

For years, Kate and her family have participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk in Sleepy Hallow. This year was very special. As well as raising almost $40,000 in donations for the LLS, Kate was chosen to give a speech before the walk as the night’s “Honored Hero.” Despite being nervous to tell her story to hundreds of walkers, Kate delivered an excellent speech, reducing much of the audience, including myself, to tears.

It was a very emotional night. Many people held yellow lanterns, which meant that they had lost a loved one to leukemia. Others held red lanterns to represent their support in the fight against blood cancers. And a few people held up their white lanterns with pride, meaning that they were survivors of blood cancers. Everyone walked for a different reason, but we were all united under a common goal: to eliminate blood cancer.

Kate delivering her speech. My photo.

As we walked, we danced and sang and enjoyed the moment as much as we could. If Kate has taught me anything, it’s that life is precious, so we should live it to the fullest and take nothing for granted. As Kate states on her Fundraising Page, “Together, we can live out the ultimate dream – to bring an end to this dreaded disease.”

Visit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website for more information:

http://www.lls.org/