By: Kayla Bremer
A 5–year–old battling leukemia was honored as a hero at Haymarket Park on Thursday night. The annual "Light the Night" walk took place in support of loved one's who are, or have battled leukemia.
Hundreds of people with illuminated balloons walked to help fight blood cancer. Supporters and survivors came together to help raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The "Light the Night" walk moved from it's previous home at Holmes Lake to Haymarket Park.
This year's honored hero of the event was 5–year–old Christian Dexter. He was diagnosed with leukemia when he was just 2-years-old.
"It's a very big honor. It's really neat just to show support for him and what he's gone through but everybody else is here too...it's kind of a special day," Christian's father Brad Dexter said.
Families and friends formed teams in support of their loved ones who have been affected by cancer.
Audrey Jackson, a survivor of leukemia was diagnosed a week after giving birth to her daughter. This is her third walk and she says finding a cause for the cancer has become her mission.
"Honestly I didn't really have a choice but to fight and win because I just had a brand new baby and at the time I had a 5–year–old son and my husband and family. So that's what motivated me to get me through," Jackson said.
The goal of the walk is to raise money to help find a cure. The event continues to grow each year and at least 700 people were expected to participate in the walk.
"Our Lincoln goal is to raise $90,000 and we're getting close. I think with what we raise tonight we'll beat that total," event manager Natalie Markley said.
Markley says the event gives people a chance to interact with survivors and patients. Many of the families at the event said a positive mindset is what helped them get through the fight.
"A lot of good things have come out of it. Whenever I think of it, I always think of the good things, I don't ever think of the bad things so it's just all about the attitude we've had," Dexter said.
The different colored balloons each had a special meaning. White balloons were for survivors, red for supporters and gold in memory of loved ones lost to cancer.