Cancer fundraiser to light the night

September 08, 2006|by KAREN HANNA

HAGERSTOWN - As he battled cancer, Arthur B. Richards, who founded two organizations devoted to children, remained active in his community.

Nearly five months after his death, that spirit will live on at Light the Night, a fundraiser walk that benefits research of blood cancers and supports patients fighting the diseases.

"I had a husband who fought this battle for 10 years, that's why I'm very much for this walk - to help other families," said Connie Richards, the owner of Richards World Travel, which her late husband started.

Richards, her stepson, Wes Yates, and Yates' brother-in-law, Mark Harrell, are among the planners of Hagerstown's first Light the Night event, which takes place Oct. 6. Proceeds benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


According to Yates, the event will feature walkers carrying lighted red and white balloons. Participants who have known someone with cancer carry the red balloons, while survivors carry white, he said.

Art Richards was a driving force in the establishment of Dream Come True, which grants wishes for terminally ill children. In 1998, he founded Children In Need, which provides school supplies and clothing to disadvantaged children.

Last October, he drew the curtain unveiling the name of the Children In Need building, "The Art Richards Center."

Richards died in May at the age of 67. He had fought two bouts with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma before succumbing to leukemia, Yates said.

According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, someone is diagnosed with a blood disease every five minutes. Every 10 minutes, blood cancer takes a life, the society fact book states.

More than 785,000 Americans are living with the leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma, which are cancers that attack bone marrow and lymphatic tissues, the society fact book states.

According to Yates, who now serves as president of the company his stepfather founded, Richards would be happy to see his name associated with another good cause.

"Oh, I'll tell you, he's got to be smiling right now ... knowing what the whole Hagerstown/Washington County area is trying to do in his name," Yates said. "He's smiling big time."

The walk begins at 7 p.m., but Connie Richards said organizers are encouraging participants to arrive at Fairgrounds Park by 6 p.m. Each participant must raise at least $25 to walk, Richards said.

"I think my husband would be very pleased that we're doing this. My goal is have 500 walkers and raise $50,000," said Richards, who plans to walk with the other employees of the travel agency.

Money to stay in the county

Light the Night will raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. All proceeds will stay in Washington County, said Connie Richards, whose husband, Art, died in May of leukemia.

According to Connie Richards, people wishing to walk in the event Oct. 6 must raise at least $25. The walk starts at 7 p.m., but Richards said walkers should be at Fairgrounds Park by 6 p.m.

For more information or to participate, call Richards at Richards World Travel at 301-791-1010, ext. 124.

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