Light the Night: Do you hate cancer? Do you love Meag Ward?

Meag Ward, Pursuer of Charity

Originally published December 2007.

I’m sure you all saw the signs posing the above questions plastered all over the Whitehead Auditorium during Frontiers this fall (and am hoping you put forward the obvious answers…) If you frequently arrived at Frontiers late, not at all, or left early you may not be familiar with these signs or why they were posted. Well fortunately for you, the Central Sulcus staff is here to answer your quandaries!

This fall, 18 members of the Emory Neuroscience community and their families raised $2,330.10 in order to have the pleasure of traipsing through downtown Atlanta on the evening of October 13 donning red balloons in support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s annual Light the Night Walk. Why would anyone raise that much money just to walk through sketchy downtown ATL? To be perfectly honest, it wasn’t the walking itself that we were all so interested in. Light the Night is an annual event created to raise funds for cures for blood cancers. Funds raised through Light The Night Walk support the work of hundreds of the world’s best and brightest researchers in their search for better therapies and cures for leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and we all especially know how crucial it is to have plenty of funding for biomedical research.

20071218CS3Why do Neuroscientists care about blood cancers? This particular endeavor was undertaken by myself and my Light the Night teammates in support of my brother, Ron Ward. Just after his 40th birthday last year, Ron was diagnosed with advanced stages of acute myelogenous leukemia that had then spread to his nervous system. He immediately began chemotherapy, total body radiation and eventually had a bone marrow transplant. I’m very happy to say that during our fundraising my big bro successfully recovered from his transplant and went into remission, and has been that way for 3 full months now! It was due to treatments discovered as a direct result of funds available to blood cancer researchers that Ron and so many others are able to beat this devastating disease. Unfortunately, there are many out there who aren’t so lucky, and better, less invasive and more effective treatments need to be discovered, and this is why we walked. This is why we spent time writing letters, making phone calls and why Jill Bordelon walked all the way from Yerkes to make announcements every week at Frontiers pleading for any donations you may have had! The Neuroscience community was unbelievably generous, and all of your efforts have contributed to advancing blood cancer research bringing us one step closer to a cure.

I am, as ever, in awe of the members of this program and the constant support you all offer to your fellow colleagues. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who donated to our cause and the following Neuroscience program students and faculty, in particular, who walked with us on October 13: Jill Bordelon, Sara Dodson, Zoe Donaldson, Andy Jenkins, Michael Jutras, Michael Kelly, Amy Mahan, Meera Modi, and Kate O’Toole

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