Floating lanterns decorated night sky

Rotary Light Up the Night fund-raiser brings in $5,967 for polio eradication, draws over a thousand

  • Feb. 22, 2016 7:00 a.m.

Organizers were ‘blown away’ by the response to the second annual Light Up the Night, at Transfer Beach Thursday, Feb. 18; and so were many of the colorful lanterns – 350 in all –  which were launched by a crowd estimated at a thousand people, participating in the event.

A breeze carried the lanterns up and away, out of the amphitheater and into the night sky.

The event, organized by the Rotary Club of Ladysmith, was witnessed not only by those in attendance. “We were totally blown away when our Facebook page went viral and we had over 80 thousand views,” said the Rotary’s Cheryl Leukefeld.

She said they sold out of lanterns within 15 minutes of setting up at 7:30 p.m. for the 8 p.m. launch.

After expenses the event raised $1,151 for Polio Plus, Rotary’s drive to combat and eradicate polio, including donations from people who arrived too late to buy a lantern to send aloft.

With matching funds from the Canadian government and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that translates into $5,967 raised.

“Rotarians all over the world have been working on this since 1986,” Leukefeld said, “and with the help of the Gates Foundation and communities just like ours, we actually can see the end in sight.”