light the night walk

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nathan is like most other 5-year-olds his age: he loves riding his bike, he is known to devour pizza with such glee and delight that you think he is in a state of sheer bliss when those cardboard pizza boxes hit the table, and he is an avid video game player. as you can certainly see in his photograph, nathan’s smile lights up his entire face, as tall as our space needle and as wide as our puget sound. he lives life fully, ambitiously and as richly as we all know we should. indeed, we all have much to learn from 5-year-olds like nathan!
and true to my word, i have learned something truly inspiring from nathan. what sets him apart from most of his peers is that he is a lymphoma survivor. to endure weeks of intensive care at seattle children’s hospital, to endure dozens of painful tests, invasive surgeries and several rounds of chemotherapy, is to know something that most 5-year-olds fortunately do not have to know. even i, and i do hope you, also do not know such a trying endeavor.
but nathan’s smile continues to light up our world because after many months and over 90 days in the hospital, nathan will be finishing his treatment this fall. before his sixth birthday, nathan will have hit two major life accomplishments: starting kindergarten, and starting life as a lymphoma survivor, cancer-free! surely that smile is one that will light up the worlds of everyone he meets.
so we here at glassybaby are humbled to honor nathan by partnering with the leukemia and lymphoma society’s light the night walk. the society’s aja estrada first told me about the light the night walk, explaining that it is a powerful and unique fundraising campaign of the leukemia and lymphoma society. families and communities come together for these walks to honor blood cancer survivors and those who have been lost to the disease. the goal is to find the cure, and in this relentless pursuit, the society helps bring a touching sense of beauty to so many who have been afflicted.
each walk involves three illuminated lanterns: white, gold and red. the white lanterns are held by survivors, as aja told me that “these lanterns are a symbol of hope and how far we’ve come.” distance, in this sense, is measured by a light in the darkness. it is a gentle reminder to those who may be recently diagnosed that through the darkness, there is hope – there are others who have endured and to find strength in.
the gold lanterns, aja told me, “are carried by those paying tribute to loved ones, friends, family, we’ve lost to blood cancer.” she went to to say that these lanterns “are reminders of why we are relentless in our search for cures.”
and the red lanterns, she continued to explain, “are carried by colleagues, friends and loved of those who attend the walk in honor of our survivors and those we’ve lost.” these individuals carry red lanterns to make “a declaration of their commitment and support.”
together, the three lanterns light up the night in a silent tribute; the three lanterns bring together a community who can find strength, support and love in one another; the three lanterns remind us all how precious life is.
and there is an opportunity for you to get involved with a light the night walk. this upcoming saturday, october 25 at 4pm, the seattle walk will begin at seattle center. you can register here: http://lightthenight.org/wa. glassybaby will also donate 10% of your online purchase when you enter giving code ‘lls’ now through december 31st.
sometimes, a small light can make all the difference when darkness comes over us.