People were lighting the night to raise money to fight deadly diseases. Central New Yorkers gathered to shed light on cancers like leukemia and lymphoma. Our Iris St. Meran was at Syracuse's Light the Night event and shares one cancer survivor's story.
SYRACUSE, N.Y. – It was a journey Lori Morales never expected to take. But she's happy she made it through to the other side.
Morales said, “I had a transplant. Leukemia, bone marrow transplant from a total stranger and I'm still here eight years later."
This is a reason to celebrate. Part of her celebration is this annual walk, Light the Night. It raises money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, which supports local blood cancer research, patient aid and advocacy. Each year, Morales is joined by her family who are happy to support the cause.
"All these people that are here every year, my sister is still here. Without these people raising money, they couldn't keep researching. She wouldn't be here," said Morales' sister Allison Crowe.
All participants hold balloons as they walk. The balloons have different meanings. Gold is to honor the memory of a loved one. Red are for supporters and the white is to identify a cancer survivor.
Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Deputy Executive Director Luann Burgio said, "When you see anybody carrying a white balloon, that is a survivor from any type of cancer, those are our true heroes. That's the motivation, the inspiration as to why we're here."
Lori Morales has some inspiration and a survival tip for anyone who is going through where she's been.
"Try to only stay positive. Watch things that make you laugh not cry,” Morales added. “And really think of positive thoughts. It works."
She is living proof that support and a little positivity can go a long way.
Light the Night raised $85,000 last year. The goal is to either meet or exceed that amount this year.