Light The Night Walk


James McCoy

By Jessica Vargas

Thousands participated in Light The Night Walk to raise funds and find cures for leukemia and lymphoma. College of Southern Nevada’s very own associate vice president, a survivor of lymphoma, was an honored hero at this year’s event.

James McCoy, associate vice president of academic affairs for CSN, was diagnosed with lymphoma cancer in 2013. Before the diagnosis he went to the dentist because he felt numbness in his jaw and thought it was probably an infection when in fact it turned out to be cancer.

Lymphoma is when cancer cells attack the lymphatic system. McCoy fought the cancer and now is in remission and hence has passionately advocated for cures for the cause.

“I joined the executive board for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society this year and helped put on the Light The Night Walk,” McCoy said. “I was selected to be the honored hero and for me I can use my public-speaking background and use a public podium to tell my story and to humanize the cancer experience. It is a very positive outcome for me. I’m in remission and we’re trying to help promote and motivate others to help the cause so we can find an end to this cancer.”

According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s website, its mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood-cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

In order to do so, raising money is necessary. According to its site, Bright Lights Club members raised more than $18.8 million last year in support of its mission.

At this year’s event on Nov. 7, Light The Night Walk in Southern Nevada had approximately 5,300 participants, 200 volunteers and it raised $500,000, according to McCoy.

Team Real McCoys

Team Real McCoys

A sub-team called Team Real McCoys involving walkers from CSN and University of Nevada, Las Vegas raised $11,648 of the total sum above. The team was ranked No. 2 for fundraising in the state.

“I feel honored to spend my time helping raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society,” said Amanda Harris, campaign manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. “I see firsthand that the funds we raise are going toward research that helps patients live longer better lives. The families I meet who have experienced a loss inspire me to give this job my all, so that we can raise more money to fund more research and ensure that more lives are saved. It’s an extremely rewarding career.”

Gloria Ramirez, mother of former cancer patient, promised her daughter she would be in attendance at the walk this year. Her daughter Diana Ramirez noticed a big bump on her neck and went to the doctor and was told it was just an infection. Once the bump got bigger she found out she had Leukemia. She passed away three months ago at age 23.

104“My advice is to always keep an eye out for any signs because with my daughter we first thought it was an infection until the bump on her neck didn’t allow her to move her head,” Ramirez said. “I promised my daughter I was going to be present for this event since she knew about it and wanted to come, but it’s hard for me. It has been three months since her passing.”

“Maintain hope, cancer treatments have come a long way since cancer was first being detected decades ago,” McCoy said. “Cancers are treatable depending on the type of cancer and depending how far along it is. To that end maintain hope, maintain the fight. You have a lot to live for.”

“Light The Night Walk is the nation’s night to come together and walk for the end of cancer,” Harris said. “We are so appreciative of CSN’s support and congratulate the team from CSN on its fundraising success in 2015.”

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