Pelham supports LLS’s Light the Night Walk
Published 9:47 am Tuesday, October 6, 2015
By JESSA PEASE / Staff Writer
PELHAM— Red, white and gold lanterns fill the sky once a year in support and remembrance of those affected by types of blood cancer. For 16 years, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has hosted Light the Night Walk to raise funds and awareness for those diseases.
This year, the city of Pelham is taking a special interest in Light the Night, supporting one of their own through a friendly competition. Win or lose, Police Chief Larry Palmer, Fire Chief Danny Ray and Mayor Gary Waters will all end up with a pie in the face.
“We just really wanted to make a difference and be part of the people who are making a direct impact in finding a cure,” said Laura Ehrhart, a 13-year dispatcher with the departments. “I just asked if they’d be willing to be pied in the face, and they were very willing to do so.”
In 2013, Ehrhart’s husband was diagnosed with Leukemia. Now, she said things have “chilled out” and her husband’s cancer is in remission, although he will still have to take medication twice a day for the rest of his life.
LLS awards about $44 million in co-pay assistance and greatly helped Austin Ehrhart. His medication costs about $10,000 a month, and without LLS’s co-pay assistance, the Ehrharts might not be able to afford it.
Knowing that a little competition would help raise more donations for LLS, Ehrhart contacted Palmer, Ray and Waters.
Now, the Fire and Police Department are competing to see who can raise the most money. The winning department’s chief will have the opportunity to pie the other in the face.
Both departments also have a goal of $1,500. If they reach their goal, the chiefs will pie Waters in the face.
“It’s another worth while event that we can help with,” said Pelham Fire Chief Danny Ray. “Not only will it help her husband, but it will help others with this illness.”
Residents and other city employees can also get in on the action. Every $10 donated puts that person’s name in a drawing to pie their choice of Palmer, Ray or Waters.
“I thought it was a great cause, not just for us, but for so many people,” Ehrhart said. “So many people are going through this so it’s so exciting to be a part of the cure.”
Light the Night walk is Thursday, Nov. 5 at Railroad Park. The city leaders will be pied Oct. 30 around lunchtime at the Pelham Civic Complex. To donate, visit Pages.lightthenight.org/al/birmingh15/lehrhart.
“It really warms my heart because I’ve worked there since 2002,” she said. “I consider these people my family. We’ve all been through a lot together… Them being so willing to help and saying how proud they are of me or they will absolutely help is amazing.”