St. John's NL
Life was turned upside down in an instant when Amelia was diagnosed with blood cancer at only 2.5 years old in 2018. It changed the trajectory of her childhood, of her preschool years. She has spent half her life fighting cancer, on chemotherapy and other meds. But, she takes it all in stride. As her mom I am beyond proud of her courage and bravery and positive attitude throughout the last two and a half years. And proud of her older brothers for their strength. It has been incredible to witness what children and teenagers can process.
The other big thing that comes to mind is gratitude - we are so very thankful for the doctors and nurses and other hospital staff who had an impact on her treatment, for living in a country where access to treatment is available, for living in a time where surviving and thriving after a blood cancer diagnosis is possible, for all the researchers and volunteers who support patients, for blood donors, for the people we meet along the way and the friendships we make... The list is endless.
It is important to us to give back to the people and organizations that have helped us through our cancer journey, so Light the Night was on our radar as soon as we learned of it. We weren't able to participate the year Amelia was diagnosed and so the 2019 event was our first one. It was a magical experience! To see the night sky literally lit up in support for blood cancer patients was incredibly moving and inspiring!
We were able to reach the $5,000 fundraising milestone through sharing Amelia's fundraising page link regularly via email signature and posting it on social media often (personal page as well as a public fundraising page and in community/buy & sell groups where permitted), but we also had 4 major fundraisers/events that contributed to this success:
- We partnered with a local soap making company (St.John's Soap Works) to create a mini line of products featuring her favourite products, colours and scents, branded with her name.
- We approached friends/family and local businesses for donations for an online auction that we ran as a Facebook event. Over $2200 was raised through this event.
- We entered an art piece generously donated by artist Wilson Black /Son of Ruth in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada's National Online Auction which raised close to $1000
- We partnered with another local team (Team Ryan) on 50/50 tickets
Light The Night means Hope and Strength, Courage and Resilience. It means the chance for a better tomorrow with continued research - one where all blood cancer patients survive and have fewer late effects from treatment! It means friendship and support. It is the feeling that we CAN do this, that together we WILL beat blood cancer!
Going through any cancer is hard. It is taxing on the body and the spirit. It can be lonely. We need to let blood cancer patients know they aren't alone, to give them access to more information and support. We need to fund research to increase survivorship and lessen late effects of treatment to ensure long healthy lives for all Canadians affected by blood cancer. Furthermore, advances in blood cancer understanding and treatment often lead to advances in other types of cancer and their treatment. Research here thereby benefits all Canadians touched by cancer.