Jennifer Juanes was a beautiful woman. In 2006, when Juanes was only 20 years old, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, also known as ALL. In spite of having to undergo chemotherapy and other treatments, Juanes kept her positive attitude and sense of humor. Juanes concluded her chemotherapy treatments in 2007 and continued to pursue life with “the heart of a tiger.” Unfortunately, in 2009, she suffered a relapse and passed away the following year.
Kim Pereira, Juanes’ sister, shared this tragic story on June 23rd at a presentation about the Light The Night Walks, a series of local fundraising walks The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Silicon Valley and Monterey Bay Area chapter will host in October. Held at Techmart in Santa Clara across from the San Francisco 49ers training camp, the event was attended by cancer patients, cancer survivors, family members of those affected by blood diseases, and corporate representatives from local companies.
“The event at Santa Clara was a recruitment event for Light The Night,” says Natalie Morales, senior campaign manager for Light The Night at the local chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “The Light The Night Walk is a 2-mile inspirational walk. Friend and family teams and corporate teams get together and fundraise and come out to the walk. It’s a family-friendly atmosphere.”
“[To participate in a Light The Night Walk],you get donations from friends and family,” Morales continues. “Most participants raise at least $100, and you celebrate at the Light The Night Walk.”
Attendees at the recruitment event also got to preview the plans for the new football stadium and listen to Coach Jim Harbaugh from the San Francisco 49ers speak about the importance of raising money for leukemia and lymphoma patients. Another featured speaker was Bill Watkins, CEO of Bridgelux, who spoke about the importance of corporate philanthropy in Silicon Valley.
“We concluded the evening by talking about why attendees and attending companies should be involved in the Light The Night Walk,” Morales says.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society hosts Light The Night Walks every year to help raise funds for cancer research and patient services and to recognize cancer patients. Last year, the Light The Night Walks raised more than $45 million. The walks, hosted by chapters of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society nationwide, involve teams of co-workers, families, and friends walking at night with colored balloons. Survivors hold white balloons, supporters hold red balloons, and those who wish to remember a lost loved one hold gold balloons. Music, refreshments, and activities accompany the walk events.
In October, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will host three local Light The Night Walks. The San Mateo walk will be on October 1. The Palo Alto walk will be on October 15. The San Jose walk will be on October 22. Teams are forming right now.
Those who didn’t attend the presentation event but want to get involved in the walks can call the local chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night number at (408) 490-2671.