Lights for Linda project exceeds fundraising goal

by Celia Shortt

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Donald Sweeney on his URAL with sidecar along with his grandchildren, who sang Christmas carols as they set up and lit luminarias throughout SummerGrove. From left are Jacob Sweeney, Houston Hawes, and Alexander Sweeney; in back, Caroline Hawes.

SummerGrove neighbors’ Christmas Eve luminarias display was record breaking for the Lights for Linda project, as it raised more than $4,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and sold 177 luminaria kits.

“Lights for Linda Luminarias truly glowed with the gratitude and enthusiasm of participants this year,” said founder Nancy Sanker. “Our hardworking committee, including Bev Adams, Susan Boyd, Pat Darrow, Eve Long, Jennifer McTier and Judy Sweeney, was overwhelmed by community support.”

Sanker started the project to honor her sister, Linda McGrenaghan, who died after a 19-year battle with leukemia. All proceeds from the luminarias go to LLS, and in its four-year history, Lights for Linda has raised more than $10,000 for the organization.

“Over and over we heard, ‘Thank you for doing this!’” said Sanker. “Our project, which was dedicated to Madeline McTier this year, was about joy from beginning to end.”

McTier was a 17-year-old East Coweta High School student who passed away in September from complications of a brain tumor. She lived in the neighborhood where Lights for Linda began.

This year was the first that the luminarias honored a specific person. “It’s an honor that they would even think of us,” said Madeline’s mother, Jennifer McTier. “SummerGrove is a large community. Even though it is a big community, it is close-knit. So many people have done so many wonderful things.” The 2014 project, already under way for next Christmas, will be the fifth one for Lights for Linda. Sanker and other committee members are already planning on making it an even better year than 2013.

“Next year will be our fifth and we are starting early with a Christmas in July meeting and the goal of raising $5,555 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!” she said. “Our future is bright — follow us at www.lightsforlinda.info .”



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