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Light The Night fundraiser supports survivors of Leukemia & Lymphoma

Light The Night fundraiser supports survivors of Leukemia & Lymphoma (WKRC)

CINCINNATI (WKRC) - It's not the usual apparel for a walk in the park but lanterns and capes were all part of the message to those living with a disease.

Local 12 News met up with survivors, family members, and friends at the Mercy Health Jewish Hospital Tuesday, October 4. The team there just performed it's 2,000th bone marrow transplant; just one of the treatments giving patients new hope until there is a cure.

There is nothing that turns your life upside down, the moms said, like being told you or someone you love has leukemia or lymphoma. Both are cancers of the blood.

Roseann Hayes, a patient, said, “I had just had a baby, I had a six-week-old baby at home and when I felt a swelling in my neck I had no idea. So when I went in and they said this is what it is, I was shocked.”

Years later all were in good health and giving back. They were all part of the team coordinating the annual Light The Night Walk. Fundraisers like these are held all over the country for local chapters of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

The stories and fundraisers were making a huge difference as we raise awareness and money for research for the disease, one of the treatments now, and an exciting trial that could make a big difference for those who go through bone marrow transplants. Bone marrow transplants replace cancerous or broken cells in the blood with new ones.

Doctor Jim Essels, Medical Director of Blood Cancer Center at OHC, said that means the biggest challenge, “Is to try and find a way to have the new immune system attack the leukemia but not attack the patient.”

Essel is now part of a team from OHC, or Oncology Hematology Care, conducting a national study on adult stem cells from unrelated donors that might hold the secret to fixing this problem, “This is a phase one study, gonna be the first in humans in the world to see if we can manipulate those stem cells to cause an anticancer effect but not graph versus host disease where the immune system attacks the patient.”

The hope is that there will soon be even more pictures that show life after a diagnosis of leukemia and lymphoma and those working to fund a cure.

The Light The Night Walk is at Yeatmans Cove Thursday, October 13. The walk starts and 7 p.m. and the survivor parade sponsored by OHC follows it.

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