On the anniversary of her 32nd birthday in 2006, Shaunna Dunder Hershberger received a present she never expected: her first round of chemo. Just 10 days before, Hershberger was diagnosed with stage III Hodgkins lymphoma.
Now six years, three relapses and a stem cell transplant later, Hershberger, a proud survivor, will be the Honorary Patient Hero at this year's Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk. The walk will be held on May 9 at Wheeling Jesuit University at 7 p.m. Hershberger will be the team captain for "The Lymph-NO-mas" as well as sharing her personal story and battle with a brief speech.
"While going through years of treatment, the LLS helped me by providing my family grants to help pay for gas, medicine and other necessary things," said Hershberger. "Because I saw firsthand how they helped me, I whole-heartedly offer my support to the fund-raising efforts of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society."
SHAUNNA?DUNDER?Hershberger, a four-time cancer survivor and Lifestyles Editor at The?Times Leader, will be the the Honorary Patient Hero at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Walk. The walk will take place Wednesday, May 9 at 7 p.m. at Wheeling Jesuit University. Hershberger will share her personal story about her battle with Hodgkins lymphoma.
Light the Night Walk is an annual fund-raising walk that celebrates the lives of survivors and those who are currently battling a blood cancer. Through this walk alone, thousands of participants have raised money, through donations, to support research and help patients.
With donations of $25, patients and their families can be provided with up-to- date, free booklets that gives the patient more information on their disease and may help them better form their opinion. A $50 donation can provide a support group with a trained facilitator. A $100 donation will supply laboratory researchers with the materials to further their search for a cure, and a $1,000 donation would provide a one-on-one conversation with a health care specialist.
For over 60 years, the LLS has focused solely on those who are battling blood cancers. So far, more than $250 million has been given for research in the United States and in 10 other countries. More so, with the funding, the LLS is able to help patients, like Hershberger, with grants to pay for gas, medicine and other necessities.
Participants will get to walk at their own pace and will take less then an hour to complete. Strollers and wheelchairs are welcome. During the walk, there will be illuminated balloons carried. Each balloon will be a different color - white for survivors, red for supporters and gold in memory of a loved one that was lost to cancer.
"Because of the donations, the LLS continues to support blood cancer research - they are finding different procedures and medicines that no doubt led to my current remission after having three relapses," said Hershberger. "And I know that every day, every month, every year I am alive, there are even more new drugs and procedures that didn't even exist when I was first diagnosed. How awesome is that? Wouldn't you love to be a part of that?"
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