Monday, September 22, 2008

Here With You

On Saturday, September 20th, my family and I participated in a cause close to our hearts... the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Light the Night Walk" at Angels Stadium in Anaheim.

We walked in honor of my youngest brother-in-law who is battling a rare form of lymphoma that has been induced by an extremely rare auto-immune disorder. He told me it was cool to post some of the photos from the walk, so this will give me a chance to show you all what we've been up to since May 11th...the day he went into the hospital for the 3rd time and stayed until the end of June (he's been in and out numerous times since then).

My sister-in-law found out about the walk and rallied the family (and it's a huge family). She also discovered that Andrew McMahon, the frontman of the band Jack's Mannequin, had a team for the walk. McMahon founded the Dear Jack Foundation, which benefits the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Pediatric Cancer Research Center, and the UCLA stem cell transplant program. In 2005 and 2006, when Andrew was 22, he fought his own battle with Acute Lymphatic Leukemia and underwent a stem cell transplant that was donated by his sister. It's a pure coincidence that this happens to be one of my brother-in-law's favorite bands and that the similarities between he and Andrew are truly uncanny.

Spearheaded by Christine, my hardworking sister-in-law, Team Jack's Mannequin Angels Stadium raised over $16,000... and we're still going. Not only that, but we were the top fundraising "Friends and Family Team" at that location, so we were given the prime location of under the big red baseball cap near the entrance to the stadium!

Here are a few photos from the night:

Rod Carew and Angels Baseball President Dennis Kuhl, co-chairs of "Light the Night"

Our banner under one of the big Angels caps!

You know what was really cool? Andrew and his family showed up and walked with us, a show of support. And other than our family, friends of our family walked, as well as few others who had signed up on their own.

5000 people walked around the parking lot and inside the stadium, a total of 2 miles. We shuffled our way toward the finish line.

I think Matt and Andrew are commenting on the crush of people ahead of us... And we're telling them that we'll hang out in the back.

And we're walking... :-)

The banner for those whom we're walking In Honor of and In Memory of...

But we're not finished YET! The goal of Team Jack's Mannequin, nationwide, is to reach $100,000 and we have until December 31st to continue our efforts. If you know of any corporations, businesses, friends...anyone who would like to donate to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, please feel free to pass along this link (please copy and paste--if it doesn't work):

Thank you so much! And, of course, all of your good thoughts, prayers, and emotional support are always welcome. :-)

This is the trailer for the Dear Jack Movie: The Journey of Andrew McMahon. If you have/had a family member go through this, it's a little difficult to watch, as he chronicles his struggles with a hand held camera. It's eerie how similar it is to what my brother-in-law is going through. The trailer's only a few minutes, but I do encourage you to watch it... Keep an eye out for this full length movie in 2009.

And this is the video for Jack's Mannequin's "Dark Blue," which they posted on their YouTube site. I LOVE this song!

Photo Credits: Eric Cwiertny, 2008