The Lydia Project is holding its sixth annual Lights for Lydia campaign as a fundraiser that also allows those who buy the $10 luminaria kits a chance to show support on the evening of Dec. 10 for a loved one facing cancer. The event last year raised about $34,000 and allows the group to support women with all kinds of cancer who need help with utilities or paying for prescriptions or support in other ways.
“We like to say that this fundraiser keeps our services free for women coping with any kind of cancer,” said Michele Canchola, the executive director of the Lydia Project.
The luminaria set out around homes, businesses and churches across the area send a message, said Melanie Wallace, the chairwoman of the lights campaign.
“It’s just heartwarming to see how many people care because so many of the lights are in memory or in honor of someone who is going through cancer,” she said.
And while there are many events and organizations to help those with breast cancer, Lydia is one of the few that covers all cancers, Canchola said.
“What makes Lydia unique is we are there for all cancers and that’s helpful to women who have everything else and may not have somewhere else to go besides us, and that is often the case,” she said.
While the group sends out totebags and performs outreach worldwide, in the Augusta area it also provides funds for rent, utilities and other necessities that women with cancer might need, she said.
“Nothing is more impacting, especially at this time of the year, than to not have your utilities turned off,” she said.
And yet the group sees that need on a daily basis, as well as those who can’t afford both groceries and the drugs that help ease the pain and discomfort of treatment, Canchola said.
“They shouldn’t have to choose between food and pain control,” she said. “We help pay the prescription.”