Light the Night honored hero

Cancer survivor Grace Schmitt brings hope to others

This Saturday October 12, 2013 AP Environmental Science and Biology teacher Grace Schmitt will be honored at the annual Light the Night event hosted by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). Light the Night Walk focuses on raising funds for treatment and research to save patients and families affected by the disease.
Schmitt was diagnosed in 2002 with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), her battle against cancer had begun. The first drug treatment that doctors prescribed her with unfortunately was not effective thus she was left with no other option but to undergo a bone marrow transplant.

Luckily enough she was matched with an unrelated donor that could potentially save her life. Her donor was a perfect match and almost all seemed to indicate that she was safe from cancer. Yet again her own body rejected the donor and she came back as self.
“99.9% of the time, if you reject the donor and come back as self, you come back with cancer. I did not. I came back as self and have remained cancer free. It is a very unique and incredible ending,” Schmitt said.
Consequentially, LLS is honoring Schmitt for her amazing battle against leukemia. Schmitt hopes that patients and families who are facing cancer can gain hope and encouragement from hearing her story. LLS have continuously promoted the event through social media and the walk to recount Schmitt’s personal journey against leukemia.
“I have been very honored to have this opportunity to share with others,” Schmitt said.
Although leukemia significantly impacted Schmitt’s life, it has also brought her closer to faith, family and the desire to enjoy every day that she is blessed with. For many patients Schmitt is a symbol of hope and perseverance.
“I am sort of the “poster child” for the event. My face represents a patient who survived leukemia,” Schmitt said.
Light the Night is scheduled to commence at 5:00 pm where Schmitt will be recognized as the Honored Hero and along with other contributors of the event will be featured in a video, produced by BDTV students and Performing Arts instructor Dennis Goins, on the jumbotron TV at Victory Field. The event also consists of a celebration walk for cancer survivors and supporters downtown outside of Victory Field.

Ultimately, many are looking forward to Light the Night as it will celebrate cancer survivors and help continue to fund research for disease. Schmitt is a motivation for many to stay positive despite the struggles that many cancer victims encounter.
Additionally, she has also shared her story with her students and encourages them to engage themselves with causes. Perhaps one day you could too save someone’s life just like Schmitt’s donor saved hers.
On Friday October 11th at 12:30 pm, a day before Light the Night, Schmitt will be meeting her bone marrow donor for the first time. She is inviting her AP Biology students to share the significant moment with her and her donor.
“I have invited my students to attend because we have been covering cancer and the biology of cancer,” Schmitt said.
Light the Night will bring immense support to all patients and families as well as bring awareness to the community about the devastating disease. It will undoubtedly be a remarkable and inspirational event that you simply will not want to miss.