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Lights of hope

There are few American families whose lives have not been touched by cancer. And each year, members of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, or ACS-CAN, remembers those who have battled the disease.
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Lights of Hope logo(Lights of Hope)
Published: Sep. 13, 2020 at 8:26 PM CDT
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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - There are few American families whose lives have not been touched by cancer. And each year, members of the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network, or ACS-CAN, remembers those who have battled the disease.

But because of the pandemic, this year’s annual Lights of Hope fundraising event in Washington DC was cancelled - and the organization’s efforts were moved closer to home.

Michelle Lemmon is the Wyoming State Lead Advocate for ACS-CAN. She and her sister, Cody Chamber Director Tina Hoebelheinrich, led this year’s local awareness campaign - decorated luminarias in honor of those who have battled cancer.

“People purchase a bag in honor of a loved one who’s been touched by cancer,” says Michelle. “It can be a caregiver, a survivor, someone we’ve lost.”

For the sisters, the movement is very personal.

“Our sister Nita was 48 when she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer,” Tina recalls. “They caught it early, but ten months later she still lost her battle.”

This is the tenth year that the Lights of Hope event has been celebrated - and Tina notes that this year’s memorial is even more poignant.

“Normally this ceremony takes place around the Lincoln Memorial, and there are tens of thousands of bags,” she points out. “And so, to have it here at home on our tenth anniversary, I think is really cool. If it’s one thing that we’ve learned during the COVID crisis, it’s the importance of home.”

The money raised by the Lights of Hope fundraiser will be used for continued research, keeping cancer a priority with legislators. Michelle and Tina encourage anyone who wants to help support their effort to log onto fightcancer.org to find out how they can help.

“It’s a great opportunity for you to tell your story, and to share with the people who have the power to make a difference,” Tina points out. “Your state and local legislators, the people who are on Capitol Hill fighting for the same things. But definitely don’t be quiet.”

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