By Florie “Fable” Santos, Contributing Writer
Alpha Chapter collegiate and alumnae sisters laced up their walking shoes and launched lanterns into the night sky in support of Stephenie “Remedi” Lai during the Atlanta Light the Night Walk on Oct. 8.
Light the Night is an annual event hosted by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in order to raise awareness of blood cancers and to raise money to fund research crucial to finding a cure. Last year was the first time Lai led her team, “Remedy for Remedi,” in the walk after receiving her diagnosis of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma earlier in the year. This year, the team exceeded its fundraising amount from 2015 by raising $3,150 before the walk, and the team is still accepting donations until the end of the year.
Aside from surpassing her team’s fundraising goal, Lai was a featured speaker and shared her story with thousands of other attendees in the Atlanta area gathered in Centennial Olympic Park. She spoke about how she felt when she first received her diagnosis, her journey with chemotherapy and the overwhelming amount of support she has and continues to receive from her sorority sisters, her family, friends and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
One of the sisters present, Janet “Pinnacle” Phan, was especially moved because of her personal experience with Lymphoma.
“I lost my father to Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma about three years ago and the weight is still heavy in my heart,” Phan said. “Seeing our very own sister stand on that stage moved me to tears because I was able to see such a strong individual fighting for her life and still have the positivity to inspire herself and others around her to never give up. For that, I am very thankful.”
After all the speeches were given and just before the walk began, all of the survivors gathered in the middle of the crowd, in what they called the “Circle of Survivors,” and lit their white lanterns. The people who have lost their loved ones lit yellow lanterns. Finally, the people who walked in support of a survivor or in support of the cause to find a cure lit red lanterns.
“What made it an emotional experience was when everyone raised their lanterns to stand together against cancer,” said another sister, Hana “Volare” Oberst. “It was powerful because I was with sisters, and we were all coming together for this one purpose.”
Featured Images: Christine Ho