Hundreds of balloons illuminated the evening sky. Red, for supporters. Gold, in remembrance of lives lost. White, for survivors, like Irwin Wagman. He says support from the society is invaluable for people living with blood cancers, "it gives them hope," says Wagman, "the treatments we're getting, how many of us are maintaining our life."
Wagman says being a survivor has a downside, "you talk to a friend who's going through advanced treatment then suddenly you realize he isn't going to survive, and that's sad," explains Wagman, "you go to the funeral, and that's what you do. You go to too many funerals."
That's why Friday's fundraiser was so important. It helps pay for the programs that support thousands in the region, and more importantly, helps researchers get closer to finding a cure, "have about four research projects going on here in Rochester, and the funding from this event goes directly to the University of Rochester," explains Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Board Member Reginald Dejan.
Those involved say it's a cause everyone should support, "you see the children that are impacted, the adults that are impacted by the blood cancers and it's just something you really should feel honored to be part of," explains Dejan.
Wagman adds, "you never know who the next person is going to be detected with cancer and when it's a loved one you want someone doing everything possible to keep them alive."
Fox Rochester and News 8 were proud to sponsor the walk, and Maureen McGuire served as the night's emcee. The walk raised $135,000.