This Years "Lights of Hope" ceremony will be held on Sunday November 7th in Cheshire. Oddly enough, the event could conceivably coincide with a verdict in the Hayes trial, as Jury deliberations in the sentencing phase were continued into the week-end because a unanimous decision had not beeen reached by the end of Friday afternoon.
The Lights Of Hope Ceremony had been a tradition in Cheshire and Plainville for over five years, started in Cheshire by local resident Karen Walsh and her husband who came up as an idea to raise community awareness and monies for research/treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, a disease of the Central Nervous System that often strikes women in their prime of life.
Jennifer Hawke Petit had been diagnosed with M.S in 1999, eight years prior to her murder in 2007. She and her daughters Hayley and Michaela were very involved in raising money for The M.S Society; Hayley raised over 50,000 during the time that she ran her own personal MS charity called "Hayley's hope", a charity that Michaela was to inherit once Hayley went to College in the fall. Sadly, she never got the chance to realize her own goals with MS fund raising.
After the Petit family murders in 2007, the ceremony came to adapt a new and more Powerful message; The lights of hope became larger than life, they were no longer just a pretty charity ceremony But now came to symbolize the very words that the candle votive in bags, spelled out across the lawn on the town green, Cheshire Academy and where ever there was a large expanse of open field; Hope, faith, love and the healing power that together,community and faith embody. The Cheshire lights of hope have also become a spectacular display honoring one of Cheshire's most beloved families.
Through the beauty and magnificence of the lights, as well as the joint communal efforts made by hundreds of volunteers from the area," the lights of hope" has become a perfect symbol of the effort, the struggle and indeed, the victory that we each hold in our hand when we illuminate the darkness.