OVERLAND PARK, Kan. - 7,000 people will lace up their sneakers, light up large balloons and walk a mile and a half in the dark tonight. It's all part of the Light the Night walk in support of leukemia and lymphoma awareness.
41 Action News had the opportunity to meet with 10-year-old Cullen Elliott, a fifth grader at Sunset Ridge Elementary in Overland Park who survived a rare blood cancer.
Cullen's family has put together a team for the last four years, since he beat the disease. Cullen says helping others who are battling cancer is important to him,
"My mom had cancer, then I did," Cullen said. "And since people raised money for me and paid for my medicine to make sure I lived, now I should raise money and get money so they can live, too."
Cullen was diagnosed with cancer when he was just 5 years old. He remembers the weekly trips to the doctor,
"Going through leukemia was really tough. It feels good to know that I don't have to go to the doctor and take all those medications," he said.
Registration for the Light the Night walk begins at 6 p.m. at the Cleveland Chiropractic College, 10850 Lowell Avenue, in Overland Park, Kan. The walk begins at 7:30 p.m. Registration is free, but donations are suggested to help with leukemia research and drug development.
This is the 15th annual Light the Night walk. The event typically raises between $600,000 and $700,000 according to Haley Shaw, senior campaign manager.
The walk takes about an hour, and features illuminated balloons in three colors. Red balloons are carried by supporters, white by survivors and gold in memories of loved ones lost.
This year, an estimated 1,180 residents in Kansas, and 2,550 residents in Missouri will be diagnosed with a blood cancer, according to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.