A determined crowd braved the light showers on Saturday evening to attend Mount Isa’s first Light the Night.
The Mount Isa community united in solidarity with the friends and family of those affected by leukaemia and held lanterns as they walked around Tony White Oval.
For Janell Tydd and her family, it was a poignant moment.
Mrs Tydd bravely shared the story of her son Chris’ battle with leukaemia from 2010 to 2012.
“I always thought how lucky I was to have two happy, healthy adult children,” she said.
“Until one day in early May 2010 my friendly, 26-year-old, truck driving son Chris was feeling unwell. He was sent to Townsville for tests and to our shock within two days he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukaemia.”
Mrs Tydd said this diagnosis sent Chris on a “gruelling journey” of months of treatment, many rounds of chemotherapy, radiation and a bone marrow transplant.
She said it was a short and hectic 23 months that changed their lives forever.
“Later that year after stem cells were collected from his loving sister, after 13 long months of ups and downs, Chris was finally in remission and allowed to come home to Mount Isa in June 2011,” she said.
“Sadly, five short months after, Chris relapsed. Tragically, Chris lost his battle in April 2012, leaving behind a devastated family.”
Mrs Tydd said her son had taken part in Light the Night Townsville and to have this event in Mount Isa meant a lot to her.
Organiser Lesley-Ann Peterson said she hoped to see the event grow again in 2018.
“It’s just amazing the amount of families in Mount Isa who are affected by blood cancer - you don’t see it, you don’t realise it,” she said.
“I’d seen Townsville had held Light the Night and it had never been done in Mount Isa.
“A few people had mentioned it and I just thought I’d have a go this year and see if we could get it off the ground.”
MC Tony McGrady praised the work of the Mount Isa Leukaemia Foundation, who raise much needed fund for research as well as accommodation and support services.
“The important thing is tonight has given people who are survivors of leukaemia, or support people with leukaemia, or people who are members of the family and friends in a personal way – this gives them the opportunity to come together and discuss this issue,” he said.