GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Lights filled Calder Plaza Thursday night to honor those fighting against blood cancers and to remember those who have lost that battle.
Every three minutes, someone is diagnosed with either leukemia or lymphoma, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Light the Night is an event that happens across the country. People come together and hold lanterns to help raise money and support those affected by the illnesses.
Light the Night at Calder Plaza ran from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday. Everyone was given a lantern with three different color options: A red lantern was for supporters, white was for survivors or people currently fighting lymphoma or leukemia and yellow was for those who lost someone to the blood cancers.
The opening ceremony began at 7:15 p.m., when the lanterns were lit up and speakers talked about their experiences with the diseases. Then the group walked through downtown Grand Rapids and returned to Calder Plaza for a laser light show.
The organization has a fundraising goal of $300,000 that goes towards research, support for patients and more. As of Thursday morning, supporters had raised more than $100,000.
Organizers said this event helps bring the community together and lets those affected by leukemia and lymphoma know that they are not alone.
“I think it’s so important to provide this space, not only for those folks but especially those who are battling and those who have survived. We want to honor their fight and we want to show them that, they’re not in this alone. The whole community is surrounding them, and that really is I think one of the biggest takeaways from the event,” Allie Wittenbach, the regional director for Light the Night, said.
If you were unable to make it to the event, you can still donate to its fundraiser.