Nonprofit raises more than $250,000 to support local children
and their families facing pediatric cancer through
financial, emotional and quality of life services

LAS VEGAS (March 12, 2018) – Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada held its annual Evening of Hope Gala and Ray of Hope Honoree Luncheon this past Friday and Saturday to increase awareness for pediatric cancer and raise funds to support local families battling the disease through financial assistance, emotional support and quality of life services.

Commemorating 40 years of service to the community in 2018, Candlelighters is Southern Nevada’s first and oldest nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting local pediatric cancer patients. The Evening of Hope Gala helped the organization raise more than $250,000 to support its mission.

“Over the course of the past 40 years, we have had many heartwarming stories of hope and we have also had heartbreaking stories of grief,” said Melissa Cipriano, Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada executive director. “Candlelighters works hard to create a refuge for our children and their families, providing a support network that understands the challenges of what they face. We work hard to meet whatever needs our families may encounter, be it financial or emotional.

“For many, Candlelighters has become an extension of their families,” Cipriano continued. “Our annual Evening of Hope Gala and Ray of Hope Honoree Luncheon are so much more than fundraising efforts, they are opportunities to share the stories of our Candlelighters families and volunteers with the community. Their strength and courage in the face of pain, uncertainty and adversity are awe-inspiring. Their stories and courage give us all hope. These children are what make our community great.”

The Ray of Hope Honoree Luncheon provided the opportunity to recognize Candlelighters’ children as well as those who have offered their time, talent and treasure to support the organization. Childhood cancer survivors and Ray of Hope honorees for 2018 include: Rosa LaRochelle, Luke Silvestri, Alyssa Smith and Michael Tatalovich. Joan and John McClenehan, also known as “Dr. and Mrs. Magic” received the Volunteer of the Year award; Sue Collins Waltermeyer, M.A., C.C.L.S., was recognized as the 2018 Candlelighters Medical Hero; and, Kathy and Greg Maddux were named Philanthropists of the Year for their unwavering support of the organization.

The Evening of Hope Gala was a culinary experience featuring decadent bites created by Las Vegas’ finest culinary artists, a children’s art gallery, a live and silent auction, and live entertainment provided by Zowie Bowie. Culinary artists included Baja Miguel’s, The Capital Grille, Cut and Taste, Dom Demarco’s, DW Bistro, Hash House A Go Go, Hugo’s Cellar, Krispy Kreme, Mad Batter Café & Bakery, Paymon’s, Popcornopolis, Ragin’ Cajun Cookin’, Sambalatte, Served, Son of a Pig LV, STK Las Vegas, Top of Binions Steakhouse, Truffles N Bacon Café, Urban Turban and William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration. Back Bar USA, Breakthru Beverage and Ellis Island Casino & Brewery served as the beverage partners.

Proceeds from both events benefit Candlelighters programs. Event sponsors included The Revolution, Maddux Foundation, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Centennial Toyota, Comprehensive Cancer Centers of Nevada, Credit One Bank, Cure 4 the Kids, Colliers International – Links for Life Foundation, Southwest Medical Associates, Stage House, Glen Lerner Injury Attorneys, Southwest Gas, Cragin & Pike and Meadows Bank.

The annual Evening of Hope Gala and Ray of Hope Honoree Luncheon are just two examples of the many events Candlelighters hosts throughout the year. With the aim of increasing both awareness for the organization’s cause as well as funds to support families in their fight against pediatric cancer, there are many ways to support Candlelighters’ mission. Annual events include the popular Super Hero 5K, Camp Independent Firefly and the annual ShineGOLD for Cancer campaign in September.

Candlelighters Childhood Cancer Foundation of Nevada is the first and oldest nonprofit organization in Nevada serving children, from birth to 21 years old, and families coping with childhood cancer. Its mission is to provide emotional support, quality of life programs, and financial assistance for children and their families affected by childhood cancer. Since its establishment in 1978, Candlelighters has helped thousands of families, and now serves 200 families each month and as many as 600 children (diagnosed child and sibling combined) per year. For information, visit