BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — Hundreds of people gathered in Delaware Park Friday to light the night for the 19th Annual Light the Night Walk in Buffalo. It’s to honor cancer survivors and those who’ve lost their battle. The walk benefits the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to help find a cure for blood cancer.
‘I am strong’ aren’t just words on 24 year-old Elena Dilaura’s t-shirt. It’s a phrase she says she lives by.
“I still get emotional, it’s like a PTSD literally when you have cancer,” said Elena Dilaura.
Dilaura was diagnosed with leukemia in April 2016. Now she’s in remission.
It’s her first time joining several other survivors for the 19th Annual ‘Light the Night’ Walk to help find a cure for blood cancers.
Hundreds of people walked through Delaware Park Friday lighting lanterns. Supporters carried red lanterns, while survivors held white ones. For those who know someone who lost their battle with cancer, they carried gold lanterns.
“It’s celebrating where we are today as survivors fighters, families of both,” said Dilaura.
New to the event this year is the Remembrance Pavilion. That’s where Whitney Robinson wrote a special note for her dad, Norm Robinson, who passed away in 2016.
“He could tell a story, he was everyone’s hockey coach he just lit up a room,” said Whitney Robinson, who walked for the first time in honor of her father.
She says she hope this will become a family tradition to keep her father’s legacy alive.
“It’s sad, but it’s what he would like. This is exactly what he would love,” said Robinson.
For Brienna Blank, ‘Light the Night’ is all about celebrating how far we’ve come.
“20 years in remission is a huge milestone because I get to watch all the progress that’s been made with cancer research in general but specifically for the leukemia and lymphoma society,” said Brienna Blank who was diagnosed at 3-years-old.
But Dilaura says for those still fighting, support and a positive attitude can be the best medicine.
“Through all the chemo, through the transplant, through the radiation just being positive,” said Dilaura.
News 4 has been a proud sponsor, as Wake Up’s Jordan Williams hosted Friday’s event. All of the money raised from the walk will benefit blood cancer research and provide services for more than 6,000 local patients.