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Light the Night … at Home – Record numbers sign up early for reimagined event as COVID-19 forces transformation

Wednesday 5 August, 2020

Australians touched by blood cancer urged to sign up

The Leukaemia Foundation’s annual Light the Night lantern ceremony has attracted record numbers of sign-ups in its launch weeks… and it’s all thanks to COVID-19.

For the first time, Australians impacted by blood cancer will be able to sign up to host a Light the Night … at home, with families in every corner of the country expected to light up the night skies from their own backyards, loungerooms and hospital wards.

Already, more than 650 families from across Australia have signed up to be part of the event on Saturday, October 10 raising an astonishing $60,000. That’s the highest number of registrations and funds raised, this early in the campaign, in nearly a decade. As the new, reimagined event rises to meet the challenges bought by COVID-19 the Leukaemia Foundation is hoping more Australians than ever will come together, while staying safely apart to Light the Night, in a whole new way.

Registrations are already lighting up a new, interactive map showing lanterns from families all over the country as the Leukaemia Foundation finds a unique new way of uniting Australia’s blood cancer community by harnessing the latest IT platforms and interactive tools.

For 13 years, Light the Night has been the only Australian event that brings the country’s entire blood cancer community together including blood cancer patients, their families, carers and friends and members of the medical and research communities to stand united in support for each other, and in support of a future free of blood cancer.

Leukaemia Foundation’s Supporters General Manager Rachael Lance said in previous years, holding a Light the Night event at a specific location, time and day had prevented some people from attending – especially those who are immunocompromised during treatment.

“Now that we can all Light the Night – at home … we are thrilled that more people than ever before will be able to participate from the comfort of their chosen location and be part of this shared moment of hope and unity.

“It will be one national moment for the blood cancer community to come together – regardless of where you live, or your stage of treatment. How families choose to Light the Night is limited only by their imaginations.  A family dinner party, a sunset barbeque with close friends, a twilight picnic in the backyard or bedside in hospital with a loved one… it’s up to you,” Ms Lance said.

On the night, Australians are invited to light the three coloured lanterns that symbolise the different ways blood cancer has touched their life:

  • White… in honor of your own blood cancer journey.
  • Gold… in memory of a loved one lost to blood cancer.
  • Blue… to show your support for someone facing blood cancer.

On Saturday, October 10 at 8pm local time, registered participants will be able to stream the official ceremony from lightthenight.org.au or via YouTube as well as explore a glowing map of Australia that will feature thousands of Instagram posts from across the country through the hashtag #LightTheNightAU. Everyone is encouraged to tag #LightTheNightAU and their city or suburb (eg: #Sydney) to appear on the map.

Currently, there are more than 110,000 Australians diagnosed with blood cancer and the Leukaemia Foundation’s latest Blood Cancer in Australia report confirms that in just 15 years, by 2035, this number will more than double to 275,000 people.1

Ms Lance said sadly, charities were one of the victims of COVID-19 with many traditional community fundraising events being compromised or cancelled. While the Leukaemia Foundation was facing a shortfall in fundraising, demand for support and services for Australians living with blood cancer had increased significantly.

“The reality is, charities are relying now more than ever on the generosity of Australians. Every dollar raised makes a difference.”

Light the Night is both an opportunity for Australia’s blood cancer community to unite and a platform for the Leukaemia Foundation to raise funds to cure and conquer blood cancer.

“Those hosting the night for their loved ones will need to register their personal event and invite their friends and family to join them by signing up. They can then share their blood cancer stories via their personal fundraising page and fundraise $100 each to receive an official lantern to light on the night.

“Funds raised through this special event help to provide families facing blood cancer with the care they need to make it through every scary, uncertain moment that follows a diagnosis,” Ms Lance said.

“Donations also help to transform these fears into hope in life-changing ways by furthering the work of brilliant research scientists. This research is already saving lives right now as it continues to discover faster diagnostics and even better treatments for people with blood cancer.

“The lighting of lanterns symbolises the hope we share for a future free of blood cancer and the support of a community that understands the darkness a blood cancer brings to the lives of everyone impacted.

“We Light the Night to give hope to everyone touched by blood cancer now, and to cure and conquer blood cancer into the future.”

“We want to share our heartfelt gratitude to our partners Bridgestone, Holden, Brydens Lawyers, Kojo, Simon National Carriers for their unwavering support of Light the Night. In a year when we needed their support most – they have made Light the Night possible.”

Leukaemia Foundation’s Supporters General Manager Rachael Lance said the organisation is now urging Australians to register to be part of the event so that lanterns can be delivered direct to Australian doorsteps in time. To register go to lightthenight.org.au or phone 1800 500 088.

About blood cancer in Australia 

  • Blood cancer is one of the most commonly diagnosed cancers in Australia. it does not discriminate and can develop in anyone, occur at any age and at any stage of life.
  • More than 110,000 people are living with blood cancer in Australia today.
  • Every year, more than 15,000 Australians will be newly diagnosed with blood cancer such as leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma. This is equivalent to 41 people every day or one person every 36 minutes.
  • Blood cancer is the most commonly diagnosed childhood cancer.
  • Blood cancer is on the rise. Over the past 10 years, incidence of blood cancer has increased by approximately 30%.

How to be part of Light the Night 

  • Sign up and register your event at lightthenight.org.au 
  • Share your event page and invite your closest friends and family to join you for a special gathering on Saturday, October 10, 2020.
  • Fundraise to receive an official lantern to light on the night.
  • Gather with your loved ones and be part of the virtual lantern ceremony at nightfall
  • Share your experience and connection to blood cancer by tagging #LightTheNightAU and your hometown (eg: #Sydney)

(1) https://www.leukaemia.org.au/how-we-can-help/advocacy-and-policy/state-of-the-nation-my-life-counts/ 

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