Members of Westernâ€™s SGA, faculty and student body participated in the Light the Night walk, sponsored by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which took place Sept. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at Hyde Park.
Participants carried illuminated balloons during the walk; red balloons for supporters and white balloons for survivors. In addition to the evening walk, several booths were open during the event, such as a silent auction, a magician, food, music and rides for children.
Funds raised from the event will benefit medical research, support government advocacy, create support for patients and family, educate health care professionals, and provide education to the general public on leukemia and other blood cancers.
â€œThe walk is a way for us to give back to St. Joseph as a student body and be involved with the community,â€ said Natalie Bailey, president of SGA, said.
This is the second year SGA has been involved with Light the Night, with this years turnout of participants and fund raising surpassing last years totals.
â€œWe had a good turnout. We teamed up with faculty, with about 40-50 people total from Missouri Western in attendance,â€ Bailey said. â€œThere was a good representation of Missouri Western there. [The walk] went well.â€
SGA raised roughly $450 for the event, according to event coordinator and SGA senator, Tricia Dickson.
â€œWe participated last year, but we wanted to make it bigger this year,â€ Dickson said. â€œOverall, things went so much better than last year. We wanted to get out in the community and show them what weâ€™re about.â€
â€œItâ€™s for a good cause, and itâ€™s a way for us, the students of Missouri Western, to give back to the community,â€ said student and SGA senator, Lindsay Moyer.
An estimated 35,070 new cases of leukemia will be diagnosed in the United States in 2006, according to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. About 32 percent of cancers in children are leukemia. There are currently about 747,000 Americans currently fighting blood cancers.
â€œEvents like this create funds, which go to research and patient programs. These
programs mean assistance for patients,â€ said Dr. Abou-Jawde, a hematologist at the Cancer Center in St. Joseph, who delivered a speech during the event.
The event also drew support from members of the health care community.
â€œWe take care of these patients, so itâ€™s nice to get a team together and show our
support for themâ€, Pam Lotz, a registered nurse in medical oncology at Heartland in St. Joseph, said.
â€œEvents such as this one draw awareness in the community which is important for early detection of these diseases,â€ said Nancy Reser, a registered nurse in medical oncology, also at Heartland.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the worldâ€™s largest nonprofit organization funding research on the causes and treatments of blood cancers, and has been in operation since 1949.