Lighting the way for blood cancer research with lanterns at home

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Shannon SmithAlbany Advertiser
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Blood cancer survivor Cruze Gylling, 8, with sister Alia, 5, preparing for Light the Night.
Camera IconBlood cancer survivor Cruze Gylling, 8, with sister Alia, 5, preparing for Light the Night. Credit: Shannon Smith

Shining a light on blood cancer awareness will look a little different for this year’s Light the Night fundraiser in Albany.

The Leukaemia Foundation event is normally held at Emu Point, where the community come together in a show of unity and support. But because of the risks posed by COVID-19, the foundation is encouraging people to raise money and awareness from home.

Albany Leukaemia Foundation Branch co-ordinator Gayle Harman has been involved in Light the Night since her brother Neil Stephens was diagnosed with T-cell prolymphocytic leukaemia in 2009.

He sadly lost his battle in December 2013.

She knows the difference research can make to families faced with the disease.

“When I was with Neil at a specialist appointment, early in his treatment, I realised that without the important research we would not be able to have had that one last Christmas with Neil — a very special time,” she said.

“I strongly believe anything I can do ... to ensure someone’s blood cancer journey is made a little easier at a very difficult time is important, worthwhile and something Neil would have been proud of. We here in Albany, through the branch, raise funds to assist with accommodation for patients and their families to have a home away from home.”

Gayle Harman, Des and Janet Clarke, Denise Lister, Jens, Pam, Cruze, 8, and Alaia Gylling, 5, preparing for Light the Night.
Camera IconGayle Harman, Des and Janet Clarke, Denise Lister, Jens, Pam, Cruze, 8, and Alaia Gylling, 5, preparing for Light the Night. Credit: Shannon Smith

She said the mission for this year’s Light the Night was to get people starting conversations by hanging lanterns in their gardens.

“We are asking members of the public to open their own home to family and friends, and have an evening to shine a lantern in their own garden on any evening convenient to them,” she said.

“I urge people to give me a call to purchase a lantern and have an evening at home to support this event.”

To buy a lantern for $20, contact Gayle Harman on 0408 094 817 or gayle63@bigpond.com.

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