On Sunday night, hundreds of people in Downtown Dallas gathered to “Light the Night” for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s annual fundraiser.
The event was emceed by NBC 5 Consumer Specialist and Anchor Deanna Dewberry, who is a more than 20 year survivor of both cancers. She is also a breast cancer survivor.
Groups of “walk teams” carried light-up balloons, red for supporters, white for patients and survivors, and gold in memory of loved ones lost.
“The one thing about leukemia, cancer, is that it hits any age – and any race,” said Jesse Cancino, a Grand Prairie man who lost his 18-year-old nephew Alex Puente to leukemia in 2008.
Cancino said Puente had registered for this very walk, but passed away before that October after his cancer came back aggressively.
Since Puente’s passing, Cancino and his wife have started a scholarship fund in their nephew’s memory.
The whole family now considers “Light the Night” a tradition.
“I know he’s smiling down on us, he’s walking with us in spirit,” he said. “We do everything in his memory. We know he’d be happy knowing we’re helping somebody else.”
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society focuses on raising money for research to find a cure, as well as improve the quality of life for patients and their families.
Leukemia is one of the most common cancers in children.