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First-year fundraiser celebrated
Light the Night walk topped expectations
8LLS
Torri and John Westmoreland received the top fundraiser award Thursday during the North Metro Light the Night reception. - photo by Autumn Vetter

Centennial at West

By: Jim Dean

Efforts to support a cancer fundraiser were honored Thursday night.

Representatives of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society held an awards reception for the first North Metro Light the Night walk in Cumming.

Mary Colston, Light the Night director for Georgia, said the walk, which was held in October at the Cumming Fairgrounds and raised money for blood cancer research, was an enormous success.

"We certainly didn’t anticipate how successful it would be," she said. "We were extremely thrilled, especially with it being a first-year event."

The walk drew some 3,500 walkers divided among more than 80 teams.

The largest team was headed up by Torri Westmoreland and her husband John, who battled Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2010.

Torri Westmoreland said their team, called Stick It 2 Cancer, raised more than $72,000 of the $250,000 total collected through the walk.

The team, which had some 300 walkers, was one of several recognized during the event Thursday at Tam’s Backstage Restaurant.

"For a first-year walk, North Metro Light the Night was absolutely unreal," Westmoreland said. "[Thursday] night was our night to celebrate."

Colston said the walk will return to the Cumming Fairgrounds on Sept. 22.

Festivities, including various family-friendly activities and food, are set for 5:30 p.m., with the walk to start at sundown.

Westmoreland said her team is preparing for the 2012 walk.

"Our goal as a team is to raise $104,000 this year," she said. "It will be a great and amazing but busy year."