On Saturday, September 28th, "Miss Staten Island's Angels" headed to Midland Beach to support the Leukemia Lymphoma Society's annual Light the Night Walk. The Leukemia Lymphoma Society is close to my heart because, as I do with many other things, I support it for Dominic.
Thanks to my dear friend, Alyssa DePoalis, and her mom, every walker on my "Miss Staten Island's Angels" team had wings! It was the perfect little touch and I had a lot of fun walking around with my beautiful, sparkly, white wings. I was also joined by Shelley Jain, National American Miss New York Teen, and Alexa Moley, Miss Richmond County's Outstanding Teen.
After checking in and getting my t-shirt, I went over to the tent with the balloons. What makes this walk beautiful is the light-up balloons, which everyone carries. Red is for a supporter, white is for a survivor or patient, and gold is in memory of someone who has passed. I got my gold balloon for Dominic and I was ready to light the night in his honor.
It began to drizzle, but that couldn't diminish our spirits! The opening ceremony was a beautiful way to begin the walk. We all held our balloons and had a moment of silence for those who have passed from or who are currently battling lymphoma or leukemia. We then began the walk. Unfortunately, my gold balloon only lasted for a little while before popping. I think it was just Dom being the comedian that he always was - he knows I'm afraid of balloons! Luckily, my dad had a red one to pass over to me and we continued on our way.
"Miss Staten Island's Angels" walked alongside Midland Beach on the "boardwalk." We stopped for pictures and to read the signs placed along the way. I'm so grateful I had so many wonderful people walking with me.
At the end, we were supposed to tie our balloons to a wall where they would all stay lit together. My team decided, though, that we would let ours go and watch them float into the night sky. It was a beautiful tribute.
At the closing ceremonies, we listened to a woman speak about her own personal battle. Diana Caggiano lost her father to cancer when she was only 17, recently lost her brother to lymphoma, and battled Hodgkin's Lymphoma herself. Luckily, Diana has been in remission since January 2010, but she now feels compelled to join in LLS' fight. We were all so moved by her journey and approached her after her speech. She is such a strong woman! Diana was very excited to meet us and insisted that she take a bunch of pictures with "her beauty queens." "Look I have angels!" she said to her mom. It was so great to meet her whole family. They are all so positive and certainly live every second of life. They know what is truly important. They invited to us to a Zumba fundraiser for LLS (which took place last Friday, Oct. 5th). It was amazing meeting them!
In total, our team raised $742 and the number is still growing! I am so thankful for all of the support I received from my friends and family. I saw some old friends and made new ones. For those who walked and those who donated, thank you from the bottom of my heart. It means more than you can imagine that I was able to do this and it's all because of you. YOU ALL ROCK! : ]
Want to see more pictures from my night? Check them out here!