KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Whether we’re in a pandemic or not, cancer never sleeps.
But COVID-19 has changed some of the American Cancer Society’s biggest efforts to raise research dollars. This weekend was supposed to be the annual lobby day in Washington, ending with the Lights of Hope, an incredible display of 40,000 lighted bags with the names of cancer survivors and those whose lives were lost to this terrible disease.
This year, there’s a way you can take part in Lights of Hope right here in Knoxville.
Donations are pouring in for the Lights of Hope bags. There’s one in memory of someone’s mother, another with encouraging words for a friend.
Michael Holtz, a rectal cancer survivor of eight years and American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network volunteer, carefully prints each name on each bag. On his desk at home are a group of Sharpie pens in the colors representing different forms of cancer.
“The fight against cancer hasn’t stopped,” Holtz says. “People are still being diagnosed. People are still being treated. Cancer treatments, delayed in some parts of the country so there’s still a lot of work to be done.”
Any other year, Holtz would be bringing the bags to DC for Lights of Hope at the Lincoln Memorial.
“Unbelievable, emotional, I cry every year, ” Holtz says about the moving tribute. “I mean, it’s just one of those poignant, heart-tugging, tear-jerking events that you just have to be there to experience.”
This year, the bags are staying in East Tennessee.
Display yours at home or take part in a drive-thru event that will light up the parking lot at Tennessee School of Beauty on Western Avenue. It’s a way to show your support while keeping safety top of mind.
“There’s no program, there’s no gathering, ” Holtz says, “but we will have over 600 Lights of Hope.”
The drive-thru event will be held from 6-8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, at Tennessee School of Beauty, 4704 Western Ave.
For tickets and to honor or remember a loved one, visit Holtz’s Lights of Hope donation page on the American Cancer Society website. Funds raised through Lights of Hope enable ACS CAN to continue its mission to make fighting cancer a national priority.
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