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Teen's Cancer Battle Aided By Community, Family Says

Readers name Glenn Lightner Person of the Year for 2012.

He was quiet, kind, loved video games and shooting hoops with his friends.

In 2012, Glenn Lightner’s courageous battle against brain cancer gripped a community, one that supported the teen and his family on a journey that would allow him to seek alternative medicine and therapies abroad.

The 14-year-old, sadly, succumbed to the disease on Dec. 12 after five years of fighting. Last week, Long Valley Patch’s readers voted Glenn Lightner as their person of the year in 2012.

Lightner’s father, Larry, said the community, however, needs to look at itself and understand how instrumental it was in the teen's fight.

In a statement to Long Valley Patch, Larry Lightner said: 

While I appreciate Glenn getting so many votes, my son was one among thousands of children that die from cancer every day. Most go quietly off the grid after their parents are told "There is nothing else we can do" by their treating physicians.  
As much as we love and miss Glenn, the reality is, he was no different than a friend named Odi from Louisiana (age 13) he played with at St. Jude for three months, or Braden, also from Louisiana (age 7), Glenn would chase around the Ronald McDonald House with a remote control car, or Jacob who also passed in August or Paige from Alabama and all the other children around the world as well as Long Valley and adjacent towns still in the fight.
The difference here as well as the Honor belongs with each and every person that lives in this amazing community. There are some things about the fund raising efforts for Glenn most are not aware of, the amazing Rally in the Valley Team, Dinners, Ort Farms Festival, Zumba, Vals Pals, Lemonade Stands, Pizza Parties, Casino Trips, Auctions, 5K races, Finnigan's Landscaping, Long Valley First Aid Squad, Police Department, and the list goes on that were all well covered in the media. 

Here are some life-touching items you may not have known about. Every week I would receive an envelope in the mail–looks like it was written and mailed by a 4 or 5 year old child. In it would be two, one dollar bills and a note "Get better Glenn." Two little girls showed up at our front door with a white bucket that said "Cure for Glenn" on it, left $2.35 and said "Don't worry, we're going to get more.”  I still have the bucket. 

Wonderful people from our town, none of which we've ever met before, knocking on our door just to let us know they are a phone call away if we need any help with anything.  
Glenn was special; treatments that would devastate other kids for weeks didn't phase Glenn a bit, he would be outside playing basketball an hour later.

I will agree he was as brave as they come, most parents would cringe in imaginary pain when their child gets their first vaccine shot, but Glenn endured everything and anything we could come up with in an attempt to save his life and went along with all of it. 

Now back to my original point.
When Father Joe Goode said, "Glenn did more for this community then the community did for Glenn," he was partially correct. Most of you may not know how far reaching this community ended up really being. Below are some comments from parents in the United States and around the world (other parents we shared every detail with).

Because of the efforts spawned in Long Valley for Glenn, parents around the world are becoming much more aggressive, questioning more and exploring different aspects of treatments that are offered in different parts of the world. All because of the path this community allowed us to follow. 

All of Long Valley needs to take a deep breath, take a look at what happened this year and realize how special this town really is.  
Some Emails from Around the World
Larry and Silvia
YOu have been such an inspiration to me and a strong guiding force when I came back here after my son's recurrence this past June. I was holding my breath during your journey...I read the article and your son was lucky to have parents like you--the community obviously think so too. My deepest sympathies. 

Mindy Blumenfeld LMSW


I am so sorry to hear of Glenn's passing you and he were a beacon 2 so many...I asked Dr Danish about Adam I would never have known about laser ablation if you and Glenn had not shown the way...As I know 2 well words

are pretty inadequate at this moment but know all of us are holding you in our hearts today and every day. Melanie Adams Mom Always


After being on this list almost 7 years I have written enough of these to know that there are no good words. Thank you for sharing his life and your journey with us. My favorite quote is "Let your life speak". Glenn's life spoke volumes in such a short time and I know his life and its meaning will continue to speak through you and all you do. Thoughts, prayers and strength for the long days ahead.

Much Love,

Sue Mead (julia's mom)


I wish I had the right words. I'm so sorry. Glenn and your family have been and will continue to be an inspiration to so many of us. I pray that your memories of Glenn will eventually provide you with comfort.

Laurie Thompson
Caelin's mom

How heartbreakingly similar Glenn's story is to Kayla's. I wish I had words of comfort that would make a difference. I will do a random act of kindness in your son's memory. And if there is some advice I can offer having been down this path 9 mos ago, do not hesitate to ask.

Larry and Sylvia

My heart goes out to you both. No one did more or could have done more than you for Glenn. I am so very sorry - please accept my sympathy at this very difficult time.

Sara m/o Chris UK

Larry, Silvia and family -

I am so very sorry. I am heartbroken for you. Praying for much strength, peace and comfort for you all. Thank you for always sharing so openly, your journey and Glenn.

Our my love, thoughts and prayers -
Shannon, Asher's mom


I'm so very sorry. You left no stone unturned. You're an amazing dad.

Prayers for you,
Kris Forth
I am sorry for the loss of Glenn. You are an inspiration. I will be praying for comfort and peace in the coming days.

Naomi m/o ^Fredrick^ (4/13/01 - 7/12/11)


I am so sorry to hear this news. You were such a strong advocate for Glenn and so progressive in fighting. You and the family will be in our prayers. Praying for comfort, healing, and peace.

God Bless,
Bob Gruensfelder 

Larry and Sylvia,

I'm so sorry to hear Glenn's battle ended this way. I really want to thank you all for sharing so much of your story with us. It has been truly inspirational how extensively you all sought out treatments. We'll pray for strength and healing for your family during this difficult time.

Lindsey's dad, Doug Plotner


We are so sad to hear about Glenn. What an amazing young man- you all fought so hard and took on the world. We are praying hard for you. Our heart is broken.

With love,
Elise and the entire Herman Family

stacie bohr December 31, 2012 at 04:03 PM
A very well deserved accolade for a truly inspirational family.
denise December 31, 2012 at 07:26 PM
So gracious and selfless a perspective.....the gratitude is just representative of the class of dignity the Lightner family exudes.....they have forever impressed upon our lives what true faith is.....Glenn's classmates will emulate his strength and kindness in their experiences because of the lasting memory of him in their hearts.god bless all the families fighting illness in the world and especially our town.Lets try to help them too by continuing to talk about it with hope.


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