Tag Archives: Leukemia

‘Light the Night’ in Forest Park this weekend to help fight blood cancers

By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com


Hundreds of people will put their best feet forward to fight cancer this Saturday night during the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) “Light the Night Walk” through Forest Park.

The annual walk raises tens of thousands of dollars for the society’s efforts to research and treat leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and other blood cancers that affect thousands of people nationally every year.

Participants walking on their own or as teams of family members, co-workers and friends will walk two miles through the park carrying flashlights and balloons colored red for society supporters, white for blood cancer survivors or gold for those walking in memory of someone who lost their battle with blood cancer.

The LLS set a goal of raising $225,000 for the Forest Park walk; as of Tuesday, according to its website, the society is 44 percent of the way there.

The Forest Park Light the Night Walk begins at 5:30 p.m. with check-in followed by a remembrance ceremony at 6:15 p.m. A formal opening ceremony at 6:45 p.m. precedes the walk’s start. Everyone is expected to cross the finish line at about 8:30 p.m.

Click here for more information or to participate.


Woodside fundraiser to help 4-year-old boy with leukemia

| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Victoria Panos

Over a year ago, Lauren and Joseph Williams heard four words that changed their lives: “Your son has cancer.”

Now, as the parents struggle to remain strong for their 4-year-old son battling leukemia in a California hospital, they are getting much-needed support from friends back home in Queens.

Benjamin Williams, one of five children, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2013 after visiting the doctor for a regular checkup. At the time, his mother, Lauren, was pregnant with her fifth son.

Although the Williams family moved out of New York before Ben was born, and are now residing in San Diego, California, as Ben receives treatment at Rady Children’s Hospital, they are still feeling the love from the Big Apple.

Benjamin Williams

Benjamin Williams

Victoria Panos, of Woodside, has been friends with Ben’s mother, a Jackson Heights native, since they were children, and she knew she had to do what she could to help out the family.

Panos is organizing a fundraiser for the family on Feb. 28 at the Big Six Towers shopping center, located at 60-10 Queens Blvd. in Woodside, to raise money to help with any medical expenses.

Along with supporting the Williams family, Panos said the fundraiser also aims to raise awareness to the topic of childhood cancer.

“No one really hears about [childhood cancer],” said Panos, who is also Ben’s godmother. “I want to bring it to light and I want to help out Ben and his family because it is really rough with having a child that is sick and had to go through all that treatment. Raising awareness is my main goal, other than helping out my friend.”

Panos added that many people are not aware the leukemia awareness ribbon is orange, and the ribbon for childhood cancer awareness is gold.

“You don’t really understand what it is until it hits close to home,” Panos said. “I just need people to know that it is real. It does happen. Cancer doesn’t discriminate.”

After a previous fundraiser was held for Ben, Panos said Lauren was in tears knowing that the family was receiving support from loved ones. The idea of this current fundraiser was kept a surprise to the family until recently because Panos did not want them to worry about any details or organizing it.

Benjamin Williams (far right), 4, with his brothers, parents and grandmother.

Benjamin Williams (far right), 4, with his brothers, parents and grandmother.

“It’s super humbling. I really don’t have any words,” Lauren said a day after finding out about the fundraiser. “When you’re in a situation like this, anything helps. It’s wonderful. I can’t be thankful enough.”

Even with facing the struggles of fighting leukemia, Panos said the family has stayed positive through it all, including Ben.

“His older brothers are always helping out, whatever Ben wants he gets,” Panos added.

The fundraiser, also being organized by the Towers Play N Learn Center at 60-10A 47th Ave., will feature a bake sale, raffles, face painting by local artist The Cheeky Chipmunk and Brooklyn-based artist Onalee Rivera, and other activities.

“Even though the benefit is going to be a fun time, I want people to realize that they are there for something that is so devastating,” Panos said. “’Your child has cancer.’ Those four words can change your life in three seconds.”

Ben’s fundraiser is on Feb. 28 from 3 to 7 p.m. Updates on Ben’s battle with leukemia are on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TeamBen2010.


Residents “Flood” Our Lady of Hope to help save 6-year-old

| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Alexa Altman

The little boy, beaming on the back of the fire engine in his father’s oversized uniform, stole the heart of an entire community.

Over 1,900 people registered to become bone marrow donors at a drive on Saturday, February 18 at Our Lady of Hope Catholic School in Middle Village – an effort stemming from six-year-old Colin Flood’s recent diagnosis of Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL).

Volunteers came out in droves, dressed in T-shirts reading “Blasting Out Leukemia Trooper Style,” with a picture of a giant robot yielding a ray gun. On the back, in bold letters, it read, “TEAM COLIN.”

Joanne Clarke, a long-time friend of the Flood family, worked the registration table, getting potential donors signed up and instructing them on the process of bone marrow donation. Armed with charts and diagrams, Clarke told a young couple about Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Donation – a method where cells are spun out of a donor’s blood and collected before the blood is returned back to the donor.

“Hopefully we can find Colin a donor,” said Clarke. “Hopefully something good comes out of [the drive].”

On the opposite side of the room, potential donors scraped cheek swabs along the inside of their mouths and sealed them in envelopes.

Over the next three to four weeks, DKMS — the non-profit organization that registers potential donors — will test for Human Leukocyte Antigens (HLA), contained in human tissue, to see if there is a match. Donors who register with DKMS have the potential to provide life-saving materials to anyone, worldwide.

James Kirkland, a representative from DKMS, bounced around the room, greeting attendees and meeting with other volunteers. He called the experience “mind-boggling.”

“Usually good turnout for a drive is around 150, 200 people,” he said. “This is incredible.”

For those who were not able to attend the bone marrow drive but are still interested in donation, visit www.getswabbed.org. Registration is free and materials are sent from DKMS directly to your home.