Open forum: Light Up the Night Event to Help People With Cancer

Dear Source:

News stories tend to start with the “what,” but in this case, the “what”—St. John Cancer Fund’s annual fundraiser, Light Up the Night—is well-known enough that, instead, this story starts with the “why.”

Why should you support this very important event? We all know someone who’s been affected by cancer, and we all know the realities of living in the Virgin Islands, where the cost of living is high and many people are underinsured or have no insurance at all. Can you imagine making the choice between buying groceries for your family or going to the doctor for a suspicious lump or worrying symptoms? The St. John Cancer Fund aims to make sure no St. John resident has to make that choice. In the past year alone, the fund has helped 25 cancer patients with expenses, as well as contributed to the burial of four who sadly lost their fight.

On a more uplifting note, Light Up the Night has long been a fun community event, where people young and old, black, white and everything in between come together in support of a good cause. This year’s event, shifted to the Cruz Bay waterfront, will feature live music, DJ entertainment, a children’s area with snacks, face painting, Hot Wheels car racing and other activities, and so much more. “Walk the Block” from the Cruz Bay tourism office toward the waterfront, through Frank Powell Park and through the tourism park area in honor of our cancer warriors and those we have lost.

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Light Up the Night kicks off Saturday, March 23, at 5:45 p.m. with a children’s parade beginning at Mongoose Junction. Beginning at 6 p.m. in the Frank Powell Park, there will be performances by the Love City Pan Dragons, the Dynamic Dancers, and the Caribbean Ritual Dancers. Fundraiser teams will be positioned along the waterfront. Teams are signing up now, and you’ll want to sign up early to ensure premium placement.

A dinner will be served for our cancer warriors, prepared by fellow warrior Val Prakas of Little Olive, on Cruz Bay Beach, where live music will serenade guests as they dine.

You can purchase luminarias in honor of the cancer warriors in your life ahead of the event at Shani’s Beauty Shop inside Fred’s. Teams can sign up by contacting Tim Hanley at 315-246-5747 or or Cynthia Smith at 340-513-0514 or

The team that raises the most money will win a day aboard Sadie Sea for up to 30 people plus some pretty spectacular bragging rights. Golden tickets, with prizes including a wellness package, villa stays, boat rides and more can also be purchased by contacting Hanley or Smith, or at the event itself.

Light Up the Night will continue until 1:30 a.m. Even if you can’t make it to this fun, family-friendly event, please consider donating at The next person we help could be you.

Cynthia Smith, St. John Cancer Fund Board member