LIGHT THE NIGHT: Mother raises a lantern for daughter
FORTY years on and Elaine Gamer still remembers her daughter's last words.
"Mum, when this is all over, remember to help the leukaemia patients."
Those were the words her daughter, Lisa, spoke to her as they touched down in their home town of Mt Isa in 1979.
They had just finished 10 months of leukaemia treatment in Brisbane.
Two days later, after the school dance on a Monday night, Lisa tragically passed away.
She was only 16.
Those words would come to shape the Hervey Bay resident's life for the next four decades, working tirelessly with the Leukaemia Foundation to help families devastated by blood cancer diagnosis.
Elaine has been in the foundation for 40 years, was on the board for 27 years and is still currently on the membership committee for Australia.
She is also the organiser for the Hervey Bay Light the Night - an event where hundreds of Fraser Coast residents gather for an evening lantern walk, which transforms the darkness into a sea of glowing light to give hope to those impacted by blood cancer.
Carrying lanterns in symbolic colours of blue, white and gold, Elaine said it's a night to walk beside those facing their own blood cancer journey, and to remember loved ones lost.
"There will be three speakers for each colour - Blue for those who support the foundation, white for patients and gold for memory of those we have lost," Elaine said.
"They will cut the ribbon and the walk begins and at the end the Lone Piper, Duncan Birt, will play Amazing Grace.
"It's a wonderful night, absolutely beautiful."
As part of Light the Night, you can also help raise vital funds to support families affected by the insidious disease.
While research is a major aspect of the foundation, Elaine said they also assist people from rural or remote areas that have to travel to a major city at short notice to begin medical treatment.
For many people, this could mean weeks or even months away from home.
"The foundation had only been going for three years back then (1979) and they had purchased an old Queenslander, which volunteers made into three units, and that's all they had," Elaine said.
"In this day and age, with the kindness of Queensland people and the land from the government, we've got four accommodation houses and they are just beautiful.
"Everyone stays there free of charge, there's no cost."
The event will be held at Seafront Oval on Thursday, October 3, with lantern collections starting at 5.30pm.
A concert featuring local performers will start at 6pm.
There will be a special visit by the CEO of the Leukaemia Foundation, as well as food and drinks available from the Lions food van and Mr Whippy ice cream for children.
There will also be a major raffle on the night.
The prizes are a crochet quilt and a unique hand-made rocking sheep. Tickets are $2 and are available on the night. Register online at lightthenight.org.au. Lanterns can be bought on the night for $5.