Gold, white and blue lanterns cast a stunning reflection on the University of Wollongong's duck pond during Wollongong's first Light the Night walk yesterday.
Community members touched by leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma came together to shine the light on blood cancer and help raise funds for the Leukaemia Foundation.
The Wollongong event was organised by UOW staff member Didi Kello whose nephew, Adem Crosby, was told this month he had just three months to live.
"Adem was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in January 2011, just two days after his 17th birthday," she said.
"He has been through many rounds of chemotherapy and his sister, Miranda, who was 11 at the time, donated her stem cells and he was given a stem cell transplant in May last year.
"We thought he'd beaten it but then he relapsed and now his time is running out."
Ms Kello, who works at UOW college, said that despite the prognosis, Adem, who lives in Queensland, had been an inspiration to others.
"His courage, his wisdom, his insight, his love and his emotional maturity are just so inspiring to his family and friends, to others going through similar experiences and indeed to anyone," she said.
At last night's Light the Night event Ms Kello read an excerpt from the FaceBook message Adem posted recently.
"We didn't lose. We won. For two years, we did absolutely everything we needed to, took every tablet, never missed an appointment, always tried to keep fit and exercise, we always kept a level head and mentally, we never let the darkness behind this all consume us," he wrote.
"I am all too glad it was me who was chosen, because the love and wonder that I have been lucky enough to experience - I would trade for nothing in this world."
Ms Kello said the Leukaemia Foundation had provided emotional support for Adem and his family, as well as practical support including free accommodation so they could stay in Brisbane for his treatment.
"Many South Coast families have been touched by blood cancer and the foundation was there for them too," she said.
"I was shocked to learn that every day, 31 Australians are diagnosed with leukaemia, lymphoma or myeloma and that blood cancer is Australia's second-biggest cause of cancer death, claiming a life every two hours."
Light the Night walks are being held across Australia this month, with the foundation halfway towards reaching its fund-raising goal of $2 million.
"People who join the walks pay for the lanterns which raises money for vital research which will bring us closer to finding a cure." Ms Kello said.
"They choose gold lanterns to remember a loved one; white to reflect on their own journey or blue to support others," she said.