More than 100 people attended the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada’s fourth annual Light the Night Walk in Red Deer Saturday evening. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

More than 100 people participate in the Light the Night Walk in Red Deer

Red Deer’s Michael Wark was 27 when he was diagnosed with cancer.

“It turns your world upside down,” said Wark.

“It’s a terrifying experience. All of a sudden, you’re filled with doubt and uncertainty of what the future holds, or even if you’re going to be alive in a year.

“I had spent most of my 20s working through school. I was five years married, my wife and I were preparing to try for our first child, and all of a sudden, this diagnosis hit us out of the blue.”

Wark shared his story with the more than 100 people attending the fourth annual Light the Night Walk at Bower Ponds in Red Deer on Saturday. He was the event’s “honoured hero.”

In June 2018, Wark was on a wilderness retreat when he noticed he was feeling a little more tired than usual. He then started having cold-like symptoms.

“I took a few days off work, went to see my doctor and got some blood work done. It was at that point, he said it might be a good idea to get a specialist referral.”

After 10 days, Wark still wasn’t feeling good, and his wife convinced him to go to the ER at Red Deer Regional Hospital.

“I was admitted right away, went through some intensive testing, and two days later, was told that I had cancer,” said Wark.

He went through seven months of treatment involving chemotherapy, radiation and a stem-cell transplant from a genetically matched donor.

This past January, Wark officially became “100 per cent cancer free,” he said.

“Having the support of people around us made a world of difference while you’re going through treatment. It tells you that you’re not alone,” he said.

The Light the Night Walk, which is hosted by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada, raises awareness and money for cancer research. There are more than 200 events held across Canada.

Kate Holowaty, the society’s community and fund development co-ordinator, said this was the best turnout the Red Deer event has experienced.

“The goal of the walk … is to have an evening of remembrance, healing and hope, and we want to bring the blood cancer community together,” Holowaty said.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here


Cancer survivor Michael Wark, of Red Deer, was the Honoured Hero at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada’s fourth annual Light the Night Walk in Red Deer Saturday evening. Photo by SEAN MCINTOSH/Advocate staff

Just Posted

Optimist Club of Red Deer donates to youth shelter

The Optimist Club of Red Deer has donated more than $1,800 to… Continue reading

Easter Bunny visiting central Albertans to support food banks

The Easter Bunny has been enlisted to help raise money for local… Continue reading

Home care visits continue, but with challenges

Self-isolation among home care staff means fewer to make visits

UPDATE: Canadians awake to extra COVID-19 emergency benefit money, feds clarify changes

The CRA and federal officials are working to clarify the confusion around payments

Alberta Health Services provides COVID-19 prevention tips

Alberta Health Services has a number of recommendations for people amid the… Continue reading

Alberta government website has latest COVID-19 statistics

Red Deer Advocate readers can stay up to date on the COVID-19… Continue reading

Message from RE/MAX Commercial: What to do when ‘sorry we’re temporarily closed’ is part of your business as landlord or tenant

Do you have questions about rent reductions or deferral of lease payments? Experts can help

Lacombe Fire Department continues to serve through COVID-19

FD asks citizens to continue to comply with public health orders

Red Deer author shares tips with students

Academy of Writers by Sigmund Brouwer is now available to students through a new partnership

Landowners and legal experts criticize Alberta’s well cleanup bill

Critics say bill still doesn’t give energy companies a timeline to clean up their mess

Toronto company expands ventilator production tenfold to meet demand

Toronto-based company would produce at most 50 ventilators in a month

Most Read