Jan 8, 2008
"May the blessing of light be upon you. Light without and light within and light beside the darkness within." —
The words of this Celtic poem were recited by Dr William Petit Jr this Sunday afternoon, as the crowd gathered for the "Cheshire Lights Of Hope' a local fundraiser for Multiple Sclerosis, a disease of the nervous system that often strikes women in the prime of thier lives.
The Cheshire 'lights" was the brainchild of local resident Jenifer Walsh, who was diagnosed herself with M.S ten years ago. As avid fundraisers for MS, she and her husband John thought that the sales of candle-lit luminaries might be a creative way for the town to raise money for Multiple Sclerosis- From there, according to Mrs Walsh, The Cheshire's 'Lights " seemed take on "a life of its own", this largely due to the tragic home invasion in July that stole the lives of 3 members of one of the most beloved families in Cheshire-the Petit's. One of the three victims, Jennifer Hawke-Petit, was also battling MS at the time of her murder.
The sole survivor of the crimes, Dr William Petit Jr, sustained serious head injuries in addition to the loss of his wife and two daughters, Haley and Michaela. Both youngsters were very involved with charitable efforts for M.S, this ever since their mom was diagnosed with the disease eight years ago. Within the 5 years that she was involved with MS fundraising, Haley Petit managed to raise over 50,000 dollars through her own charitable organization, which she dubbed "Haley's Hope' Her younger sister Michaela, was readying herself to take the charitable baton in effect as Haley was preparing to attend Dartmouth College, this past fall.
Due to the entire families philanthropic involvement with M.S, "Cheshire's Lights of hope" grew to become part fundraiser/part Memorial --for the lives of the extraordinary Petit women, and as a way for the town to heal, by honoring the Petit's memory by emulating their giving spirit.
By Sunday evening thousands of luminaries, each one lovingly assembled by volunteers and purchased by caring townspeople for one dollae each, were laid out side by side illuminating the entire town of Cheshire. The word hope could be seen blazing from the skies above Cheshire Academy, and a magnificent cross lit up the entire downtown area.
Every single neighborhood participated in the lighting of the luminaries, a palpable undercurrent of unity-healing and love was present throughout the day and into the bright night.
While the official totals were not yet made public, the tentative appears to be nearly 100,000 dollars raised for the Multiple Sclerosis foundation.
As Dr Petit said in his speech to the overflowing Cheshire crowd, the spirit of his family clearly lives on--And he believes that "his girls" are now Celestial bodies lit up for all the world to see.."
NOTE: Double Click on this articles title header in order to watch a video clip surrounding the event..