Second annual Walk of Lights celebrates Red Cross Month

Jessica Sprowl

AKRON — After a chilly, brisk walk, about 150 individuals adorned with glow sticks around their necks soon found themselves warming-up underneath a disco ball and enjoying music and refreshments after the American Red Cross of Summit County’s Walk of Lights Friday.

The American Red Cross’ second-annual Walk of Lights was held to commemorate the 1859 Battle of Solferino, where 40,000 soldiers were left killed and wounded after one day of fighting, said Jackie Zavodney, communications specialist with the American Red Cross of Summit County.

After witnessing this event, Henri Dunant, a businessman from Geneva, took the wounded soldiers from the battlefield along with local volunteers from the nearby town of Castiglione, Italy, and provided relief for the soldiers with the resources available.

It was after that the International Red Cross was started, Zavodney said.

“We are hoping to hold the walk every year in March to remember the start of the International Red Cross and because March is American Red Cross Month,” said Robin Barclay, director of volunteer services for the American Red Cross of Summit County.

The Walk of Lights took place outside the American Red Cross building on West Market Street in Akron where participants walked to Highland Square and back. Afterwards, they were treated to a dance by disc-jockey Charles Truss.

“For our first Walk of Lights, we had over 300 individuals participate in the walk. It’s really nice. Everyone gets a glow stick, and all the businesses along the walk put-up a red cross on their building for all of us to see,” Zavodney said.

The American Red Cross Youth Council puts the event together in efforts to raise funds for local disaster victims.

Now in her third year with the American Red Cross Youth Council, president Beth Kaltenbach, 18, a student at Stow High School, really enjoyed putting this event together.

“This walk really brings a good diversified group of people together,” she said. “We help a lot of people in many different areas, through disaster relief, blood mobiles and many other things.”

In efforts to raise more money, the American Red Cross Youth Council posted fliers around local middle schools and high schools and are selling red and white wristbands.

“As of right now, we have sold over 200 wristbands,” Barclay said.

Contact social services reporter at Jessica Sprowl [email protected].