If you’re going
* What: Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s North Metro Light the Night Walk
* When: 5 p.m. Saturday; walk begins at 7:30 p.m.
* Where: Cumming Fairgrounds, 235 Castleberry Road
* Also: The event is also in need of volunteers. Anyone interested should contact Brianna White at Brianna.firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Contact: For more information, go to www.lightthenight.org/ga.
Balloons will take on special meaning Saturday as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society presents its third annual North Metro Light the Night Walk.
A fundraiser for blood cancer research, the event will begin at 5 p.m. at the Cumming Fairgrounds. While teams have been working for months to raise money, the event is open to anyone who wants to show their support for those battling blood cancers.
This year’s walk is expected to draw more than 2,500 people and over 70 teams.
In 2012, the walk raised around $300,000 for blood cancer research, educational materials, and support programs for local patients and their families.
This year’s goal is $320,000.
Javier De Jesus, a spokesman for the society, said the Forsyth County community has embraced the walk since it began in 2011.
“Our numbers are just a reflection of the community there in Cumming and Forsyth County in coming out and supporting our event,” he said. “Certainly without the community of business owners and teams of walkers and of course our patients in the area, we wouldn’t be able to have an event to this degree.”
De Jesus said gates will open at 5 p.m. with plenty to keep participants busy until the walk itself begins about 7:30 p.m.
“It’s a family-friendly event so we’ll have things for the kids as well as adults,” he said. “We’ll have a stage with live music … we’ll have a photo booth so people can get in the booth and take pictures and actually walk away with a memento from the event.”
A remembrance ceremony for those who have lost loved ones to blood cancers will begin at 6 p.m., and a reception for survivors starts at 6:30 p.m.
“We obviously encourage all those in the Forsyth County area who are blood cancer survivors, or any type of cancer survivor really, to come out and take part in that event,” De Jesus said.
The walk itself, which will make its way up Castleberry Road, around Cumming City Hall and back, will start at 7:30 p.m.
De Jesus said the balloons are what really sets Light the Night apart from other fundraising events.
“The reason we hold our walk in the evening is that our walkers carry illuminated balloons [that] have several colors that signify different things,” he said.
“Walkers with a red balloon are supporters of the cause, walkers with white balloons are actual survivors of any type of blood cancer, and then we do have those walkers who carry a gold balloon … in honor of those that we have lost.”
De Jesus is looking forward to another successful fundraiser.
“It seems like yesterday we had the inaugural one, so it’s hard to believe it’s our third time already,” he said. “We’ve seen modest growth with the event every year and we’re certainly very proud of the funds that are raised. We put those to good use in support of research and patient services programs.”