Rye Students Support Fellow Student in Light the Night Walk

Students walk to "bring light to the darkness of cancer."

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Every year, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) puts on an event called Light the Night. After meeting up at a designated site, thousands of people walk a course and hold lanterns to promote awareness for blood cancer. The lanterns come in three colors: red for supporters, yellow for those remembering a loved one lost to cancer, and white for survivors. According to the Light the Night website, approximately 140 fundraising events are held annually across the US and Canada, involving millions of people each year. The mission of LLS is to ensure that every person fighting blood cancer has access to care and treatment. Through fundraising events such as Light the Night, LLS gets one step closer to reaching this goal.

On Saturday, October 26, Light the Night was held at Playland Park in Rye, New York. For senior Kate Stevens, this event has special significance. When she was just five years old, she was diagnosed with AML Leukemia. After a year in and out of hospitals for chemotherapy treatment, a bone marrow transplant from her younger sister, Caroline, saved her life.

Since Stevens became cancer free, she and her family have participated in the Light the Night walk with the hope that, one day, no family will have to experience the fear they endured 12 years ago. In 2018, she was chosen to deliver a speech as Light the Night’s “Honored Hero” for raising over $40,000 for LLS. This year, she raised almost $35,000, placing “Team Kate” in second place out of the many friends and family teams at the event.

This past Light the Night was especially bittersweet for Stevens, since it was the last time she would be home in Rye for the walk. However, she plans to keep spreading awareness wherever she ends up in college next year. Without a doubt, she will continue to do great things wherever she goes.

Stevens has also inspired many of her friends to walk in support of the cause. Senior Caitlyn Walsh said, “This was our last year of Light the Night, and it was really special because of all the people who came out. I have been doing the walk with Kate since fourth grade, and it started out small, but over the years more and more people have come to support her and her family.” Senior Cailee Formon added, “Kate is one of the bravest and strongest people I know. I have been attending the Light the Night walk every year since fourth grade, and it has always been one of the best and most inspiring events of the year because I get to support Kate’s fight for an end to blood cancers.”