At 23 years old, Alex Hawkins just started a new job, had a great boyfriend and was an active runner. She spent her free time watching Atlanta Hawks games – she was a fan since she could talk – and enjoying time with her family, chasing around her two nephews while in the midst of helping her sister prepare for a new baby.
After finding an abnormal lump on her neck in 2014, she was diagnosed with B-Cell Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, stage III.
About a week after her diagnosis, she sat in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park with her close family and friends for the Light The Night Walk, LLS’s inspirational fundraising walk.
“Even though I kept to myself most of the night, I soon realized that I walked out of that night with a whole new family cheering me on,” she said.
She went through two surgeries, and six rounds of R-Chop chemotherapy – one treatment every three weeks. Her long thick hair fell out, and her loved ones had to help her complete the simplest of everyday tasks. Throughout treatment, she always wore a Hawks Snuggie.
After receiving an outpouring of support from LLS, she wanted to give back. She started “Team Hawks,” a friends and family Light The Night Walk team, and has led it for three years.
While going through treatment, she participated in an Atlanta Hawks fundraising night, which brought more than 200 people out for the cause. That night, she was thrilled to have an opportunity to meet NBA Hall of Famer, Dominique Wilkins. She is one of his biggest fans.
This year, before Atlanta's annual Light The Night walk, LLS arranged for a special surprise meeting with Alex and Dominique – a Random Act of Light. The pair played pickup basketball while overlooking the city’s skyline.
This time, she was cancer free.
"When Dominique walked out onto the court to surprise me I was beyond excited,” said Alex. “The last time I saw him I was in the middle of treatment, scared and bald. To come full circle and see him again – now that I’m healthy – was the best surprise I could have asked for."
LLS will bring many more moments of light to those touched by blood cancer. Throughout the fall, celebrities will surprise survivors with special meetings – Random Acts of Light – to bring light to the darkness of cancer and create awareness for the critical need to find new treatments and cures for blood cancer patients. To learn more, click here.