PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Hundreds will light the night by walking over the Tilikum Crossing with red, white and gold lanterns to bring light to the darkness of cancer on Saturday.
It’s the 20th year for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Light the Night Walk, which fundraises money for cancer treatments. Our own Jeff Gianola met a local father who had some dark times while battling Lymphoma this year.
Justin Roberts and his wife Lauryn often take their children to a park to play. Justin treasures these moments — but last December he had a moment that changed his life.
“[At the] end of last year we were in the hospital for the birth of our second son and I kept having this cough,” said Justin. “Something wasn’t right.”
At first, doctors were baffled. But, after a battery of tests, Justin was finally diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.
“I went home, I sat in my chair,” he said. “I held my kids and then I went and shaved my head.”
Justin immediately underwent chemotherapy and Lauryn was there with him every step of the way.
“She was there for me. I had a couple of times, especially in the hospital, where it was difficult,” said Justin. “I remember after that, before I even started treatment, telling her I’m tired of this, I’m tired of getting poked, I’m tired of people coming in and taking my blood pressure, I’m tired of all of it — and she just said ‘we’ll get through it.'”
They did get through it. Last April, Justin’s scans showed he had essentially beat his blood cancer. Justin took his wife out to dinner to tell her the good news.
“I think I just immediately started bawling in the restaurant,” said Lauryn.
This August, as he ended his chemotherapy, Justin rang the traditional bell in as he left the cancer ward one last time.
On Saturday, Oct. 12, Justin and his family will take part in the Leukemia Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night.
Justin will carry a white lantern, indicating he’s a survivor. Lauryn will hold a red lantern for friends and supporters while others will carry gold lanterns to remember those who have lost their lives to blood cancers.
Something as simple as playing in the park with his family means so much to Justin — and now you know the reason why.
You can join Justin, KOIN 6 and hundreds more at the Light the Night Walk on Saturday. The walk begins at OMSI and goes over the Tillikum Crossing. The night ends with a fireworks show on the river.