KENDALLVILLE — Katie Probst, a third-grade teacher at Wayne Center Elementary School in Kendallville who was diagnosed with Stage 2A Hodgkin’s lymphoma last year, is the Honored Hero for the 2019 Northeast Indiana Light the Night Walk.
Thanks to her positive mindset and a large support group of family, friends, and medical professionals, the 29-year-old mother of three is in remission. Her experience has galvanized her to help spread awareness of blood cancers and why it’s so important to help others facing similar diagnoses of leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma.
The 2019 Northeast Indiana Light the Night Walk is the region’s premier event that brings light to the darkness of cancer. It will be held Tuesday, Sept. 24, at East Noble High School in Kendallville.
Each year, an Honored Hero is chosen to represent the region and be a source of inspiration in the fight against blood cancers. Probst has been in remission since September 2018, but she remembers how she felt when she was first diagnosed with Stage 2A Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She is married to Kelby Probst, and the couple have three children: daughter Hadley, age 6, and sons Wade and Nash, ages 4 and 1, respectively.
“It was devastating,” she says of receiving the diagnosis in July 2018. “I was 28 at the time. I had three young ones.”
But she didn’t face cancer alone. Her family, her friends, and her community rallied around her.
“We leaned on family and friends,” Probst said. “We had a big support group.”
Shortly after her diagnosis, Probst began undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. She credits the caring medical professionals at Lutheran Health Network and Fort Wayne Medical Oncology and Hematology for helping her keep a positive mindset and connecting her with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and its resources.
Driven to get involved in LLS’s mission to raise awareness of blood cancers and research cures for them, Probst and her group of supporters formed a team, #TeamKT, that participated in the 2018 Northeast Indiana Light the Night Walk.
“It was very cool,” she said. “It was encouraging to see how many people got behind me to walk and join the team, and get educated about it, too.”This year, Probst continues to advocate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the Northeast Indiana Light the Night Walk. She invites others from around Northeast Indiana to join her and her teammates in being a light in the darkness for the 1.3 million people in the United States who are living with, or in remission from, leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma.
“LLS raises so much money and invests in research that saves so many lives,” she said. Since 1949, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has raised more than $1.2 billion for cancer research.
Registration and family activities at the 2019 Northeast Indiana Light the Night Walk will begin at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 24, at East Noble High School in Kendallville. The opening ceremony will start at 6:45 p.m., and the walk will immediately follow. The event will conclude with a fireworks show over nearby Bixler Lake. Proceeds from the walk benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
Now in its 23rd year, the Northeast Indiana Light the Night Walk returns to the East Noble High School track, 901 Garden St. Participating teams and walkers will start the walk there before venturing out onto the streets of Kendallville on a 1.8-mile course. They’ll return to the track, where they’ll have the opportunity to watch the fireworks show.
This year’s walk will be the only one held in northeast Indiana. Other events will take place in Indianapolis and Lafayette.
The event is much more than a walk. The Cole Center Family YMCA and the City of Kendallville Park and Recreation Department will provide fun family games and activities, and a Mini Walk for kids will take place on the high school track. There will be food trucks, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Rememberance Pavilion will provide a quiet place to honor family and friends, and participants will be treated to free ice cream at the conclusion of the walk.
Walkers and team captains from across northeast Indiana, including Noble, DeKalb, LaGrange, Steuben, Whitley, Allen and surrounding counties, are encouraged to preregister for the event and begin their fundraising at lightthenight.org/events/northeast-indiana. There’s also a link for those who wish to donate to an individual or team. Or you can contact Emilee Deming, campaign specialist, at email@example.com or 349-2558 to preregister.
The goal for the Sept. 24 Northeast Indiana Light the Night Walk is to raise $75,000. Sponsors for this year’s event are: Community State Bank, Bollhoff Inc., Parkview Noble Hospital, Campbell & Fetter Bank, Dekko Investment Services, AMI Investment Management, Shepherd’s Chevrolet Buick GMC, Black & Ramer Insurance, Kendallville Walmart and KPC Media Group.
The Northeast Indiana Light the Night Walk raises money for awareness, research, education, and patient services provided by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancers. The LLS mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.