Cece Cross lit a candle Sunday night in honor of her son Bobby Garcia who died five years ago from acute lymphocytic lymphoma. He was 21 years old.
"No one in our family had cancer. We always thought he had the stomach flu and we found out it was a lot worse," said CeCe Cross. "I would never want any other parent to endure the pain that I had to go through losing a child."
Cross joined hundreds of people at the Park at Riverwalk in southwest Bakersfield for the annual Light the Night walk.
"Blood cancer affects so many people, and we are finding new breakthroughs everyday through the research that gets funded through campaigns like this," said Debbie Truhett, executive director of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Central California.
The organization hopes to raise $300,000 to support patients with blood cancer. Its mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and myeloma.
"I have a bone marrow disorder, and though it hasn't progressed to cancer yet, I want to have a proactive report or approach," said K.D. Vargo. "I want to get the research in now."
Jessica Rhine and her family walked for her cousin Samantha who died last December from leukemia at the age of 21.
"It was a hard battle. We all had a hard time with it and it was actually in the matter of a couple months that it happened," said Rhine. "Now, we're trying to do what we can to help others not feel the pain that we feel from it."
Friends and family lit candles during the remembrance ceremony as a tribute to their loved ones. Many families said its comforting being among so many people affected by a blood cancer.
"I've been to therapy before and it didn't work. This is therapy because you're with other people who are going through or have gone through this before," said Cross. "Sometimes a hug from someone who's been through it is a lot more than you can imagine."