Families, friends and survivors of blood cancer will gather this evening at the University of Wollongong’s McKinnon Lawn for a twilight walk to raise money for the Leukaemia Foundation.
The Light the Night event has been organised by UOW staff member Didi Kello who was inspired by her nephew Adem Crosby, who died in May this year after a 2-year battle with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.
‘‘He was 17, a high school student, when he got diagnosed,’’ Ms Kello said.
‘‘We started a ‘Team Adem’ that has really taken off and we raised $250,000 for the Leukaemia Foundation at the World’s Greatest Shave.
‘‘Every 46 minutes, an Australian is diagnosed with a blood cancer and every two hours, someone dies from one of these blood cancers.’’
Participants in Light the Night will carry gold, white and blue lanterns.
‘‘Gold is to remember a loved one, white is to reflect on your life with blood cancer, and blue is to support others,’’ Ms Kello said.
About 100 people took part in last year’s Light the Night and organisers are hoping for double that number this year.
‘‘We are aiming to raise $10,000,’’ Ms Kello said.
‘‘I think we have close to $9000 now, so we should meet that.’’
As well as raising funds to go towards blood cancer research, Light the Night is also seeking pledges for blood donations.
About 34per cent of all donated blood in Australia is used for cancer treatment, including leukaemia and other blood diseases.
‘‘It was Adem’s wish to get 1000 blood donors to join his team this year,’’ Ms Kello said. ‘‘My plea tomorrow night will be to get blood pledges.
‘‘My nephew had more than 250 blood transfusions...and would have to wait for blood to be transported from other places.
‘‘We want to work with the Blood Bank to help them reach their targets.’’