Lighting the way in fight against cancer

BLOOD cancer does not discriminate.

That is the message that locals Sam Mercer, 21, and Brian Burt, 78, hope to share at the Gawler Light the Night fundraiser this Friday evening.

The event, which aims to raise awareness and funds for the Leukaemia Foundation, will be held at the Gawler & Barossa Jockey Club.

Sam and his parents, David and Sue Mercer, have returned to co-ordinate the event for a second year, after taking the reins from 2015 organiser, Brian.

The Mercers, along with Brian, said they hope to see lots of people attend the important fundraiser.

“Lots of my friends, and people my age, were shocked that someone my age could get sick, and that’s because of misinformation and people not actually having awareness,” Sam, who is now in remission after being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia in 2014, said.

“Also, if younger people, like me, get involved in organising, then I know I can get onto my friends, they can get onto their friends, and we can get lots more people out to events like this.

“By donating money, hanging out and having a bit of fun, it makes everyone feel good.”

Brian organised the 2015 Light the Night event with his wife, Ann, who sadly passed away just prior to the evening after battling Acute Myeloid Leukaemia for almost five years.

He said the initiative isn’t only important for awareness, but also to help others realise how they can help with treatment.

“If people are aware, they will volunteer to be tested to see if their stem cells, or their bone marrow, is suitable,” Brian said.

“Finding a suitable bone marrow donor is just very, very hard.”

The event sees people purchase colourful lanterns, for $20 each, and use them to express their own experience with blood cancer.

There are three colours used – gold for remembering a loved one, white for an individual’s own blood cancer journey, and blue for those wanting to show their support.

A number of local businesses have also helped contribute a jumping castle, a sausage-sizzle and drinks towards the occasion.

Light the Night is free to attend and begins at 6.30pm for registration and lantern collection, followed by the lantern-raising ceremony at 8pm and the lantern walk at 8.15pm.

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Growing up in Roseworthy and attending Kapunda High School, Laura joins The Bunyip in June, 2016 whilst completing the final year of a double degree in Journalism and International Relations at University of SA. This is Laura's first role as a Journalist following a stint at Gawler Council in the Communications Department. She will cover the news in the Playford and Mallala council regions. Outside of work, Laura enjoys anything health and well-being related, and can be regularly seen shopping for fresh, healthy produce at local markets.

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