We are thrilled to announce that the annual Light The Night event in Vancouver has raised an astounding $1,038,700 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC). This historic achievement makes Vancouver one of three major Canadian cities to raise over $1 million annually and brings us one giant step closer in the quest to end blood cancers forever.
UFCW Canada is the single largest supporter of the LLSC with over $45 million raised by union members since 1985 and UFCW Local 247 is a proud and loyal supporter of the Light The Night campaign. This year, UFCW Local 247, in partnership with Local 1518, contributed over $130,000 for Light The Night, and Locals across Canada raised nearly $350,000. This history of generosity and activism has made cancer treatments more bearable for patients and contributed to the great increases in survival rates for blood cancer patients.
The LLSC’s lifesaving work is only possible because of annual fundraising campaigns like Light The Night, which contributes about 60% of the organization’s total proceeds. This year, to enhance our collective experience while still protecting those in our community most vulnerable to the COVID-19 virus, Light The Night took place virtually on October 23rd, 2021. The online broadcast brought together survivors, supporters, and allies across Canada to share stories, remember loved ones lost, and pay tribute to our heroes—bringing love, hope, and light to the darkness of blood cancers. Locally, in lieu of gathering thousands strong in Stanley Park as we have in previous years, the blood cancer community celebrated with private viewing parties of the broadcast and self-organized walks in communities across the province.
If you missed the broadcast, here’s a link for you to view.
Part of the UFCW BC sponsorship contribution this year was a special viewing party for the patient/survivor team #RachelStrong. This included an AV set-up, decorations, and food to enjoy while watching community stories in the nationwide broadcast; one of which featured the Spotzl family and the #RachelStrong movement. In 2017, 10-year-old Rachel Spotzl was first diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia. Her little sister Hayley was her bone marrow transplant donor, and today, Rachel is three years into remission. Five years ago, doctors wouldn’t have even attempted Rachel’s transplant which was only a half-match. It’s thanks to investments in blood cancer research that this is now possible.
Every year the LLSC supports over 500 families like Rachel’s in BC, and the organization has invested more than 10 million dollars in research in the past decade. Over 30% of funding for blood cancer research in Canada comes from non-profit organizations, so the progress in blood cancer research is thanks to events like Light The Night and most importantly to generous supporters who continue to advocate and bring awareness to their communities!
UFCW 247 will continue to, proudly, be part of this great work and we thank all of you who support and contribute to our efforts to end blood cancers.
Photos: #RachelStrong viewing celebration 2021. Photo credit: Alixandra Buck