Cancer has become a common household name, infiltrating casual dinner conversations and cluttering the headlines of daily newspapers. To some it is only consequential due to its ever-evolving sociomedical significance, to others it is the focus of an entire career, to a few it may seem as far away as a war fought on foreign soil; however, to many it has become the elephant in the room: the one word holding enough power to entirely uproot a stable life. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, cancer is defined as “a malignant tumor of potentially unlimited growth that expands locally by invasion and systemically by metastasis”. But, in reality, cancer has too great an impact to be defined in one simple sentence.
As Martina McBride says, “cancer don’t discriminate, or care if you’re just 38 with three kids who need you in their lives”. That single malignant tumor can make a home in anyone, anywhere, at any time. There are children who develop cancer before they speak their first word, adolescents who are forced to learn that maybe a bad breakup isn’t the most of their worries, motivated professionals who are begrudgingly forced to put hard-earned careers on hold indefinitely.
Blood cancers – including Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Myeloma – are among the leading forms of cancer in the United States.
– In 2013, blood cancers are expected to account for about 9% of cancer-related deaths.
– There are projected to be 149,990 new diagnosis of blood cancer this year.
– Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma is the eighth most prevalent cancer in the U.S.
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society works nationwide to battle blood cancer, lowering these numbers day by day. All throughout the country, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society sponsors evening walks, walks which literally –through the use of illuminated balloons – Light the Night, calling for a brighter future. People walk to support the research, people walk to celebrate those who have survived, people walk in honor of those who did not. Everyone has their reasons.
Here at the Massachusetts chapter of Light the Night, we decided it was time to start a blog: time to open the floodgates to an ongoing conversation about why we walk. You’ll hear from past participants who felt the impact of putting aside a single evening to walk down the street holding a flashing balloon. You’ll hear from ordinary people who have had their lives changed by blood cancer – either due to their own diagnosis or the diagnosis of a loved-one. You’ll hear from researchers who wake up every morning in the hopes that today they will find the answers for which they search. And, of course, you’ll hear from us: the Light the Night MA staff, going to work each day in order to make our walks in Nashua, York, Worcester, Wakefield and Boston an annual success.
If you have a story about your relationship with blood cancer or with a Light the Night Walk, please e-mail Taylor.Wallace@lls.org. We would love to hear what you have to say!