In July 2016 our 22-year old was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma. To say we were shocked would be an understatement. After the initial shock we went right into fight mode. Nothing was going to change his diagnosis so we needed to be strong, resilient and do everything in our power to support him - one day and one step at a time was our motto. Little did we know Adam would be the one supporting us, his family and friends. His positive attitude never waivered. Even when the cancer came back a second time, his response was to fight harder. We were already extremely proud of the wonderful young man he had become and it made us even prouder to see the perseverance he had even in his darkest days. Since his stem cell transplant almost three years ago , Adam is strong, healthy and thankful for the support of his family, friends, his health care providers and the LLSC.
Our family also lost our amazing mother to blood cancer 15 years ago. It's a blood cancer that often doesn't get talked about called Multiple Myeloma. It is treatable for 4-10 years however at this point not curable. The years of treatment is hard and I hope with the help of the LLSC that one day researches will find better treatments and a cure.
Adam's friend Justin started a Team that first year that Adam was diagnosed. His friends immediately were IN to do the walk and support the blood cancer community. Days later family found out about the team and joined in. Family and friends were supporting Adam and our family in every way possible.
Since 2016 Team Keller has walked each year and raised well over $30,000 in our 5 years. The same supporters come out to join us on the walk and donate to our cause.
After that first year I personally have been inspired by others around me that have dealt with blood cancers. A friend who lost her battle with Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. She fought so hard and supported me even when she was fighting her final days. She will always be an inspiration to me. A colleague whose 7-year old daughter passed away from Leukemia and started Light the Night in London in 2011; in her honour. Another friend Tammi, who battling Leukemia continues to inspire me each year. She and her Team Tammi fundraise all year long to make a real difference for Light the Night. Her fundraising ideas are amazing! She is such a wonderful, caring and strong person that is fighting for so much more than one person. She is making a difference and inspiring others.
Fundraising has been made easier by using social media and having fundraising events such as BBQs, Trivia Nights at a local restaurant and selling of some unique crafts created by our Team. We have great ideas for next year when hopefully we can put Covid behind us!!
To us, Light The Night means providing light to others through dark and difficult times. The event itself is so beautiful. The energy is amazing, the people are inspiring and it continues to motivate us to walk each year.
I truly believe that one day there will be a cure for blood cancers. Researchers have made leaps and bounds over the years. Between the late 1960s and now, the treatment of leukemia has changed significantly. In the 1950s, nearly all children with leukemia died. The survival rate for children today is over 75 percent and childhood leukemia is one of the most successfully treated cancers . The stem cell transplants that can cure Hodgkins and Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and treat Multiple Myeloma have been successful due to research.
To find a cure we need to support researchers and that's why I hope all Canadians that have the means to support blood cancer research can help out. Every dollar counts!!