Sunday, November 27, 2022

Today’s Paige: Honor Your Loved One at Luminaria

Losing a loved one is extremely tough. No matter the age. No matter the stage. 

I know that pain having lost my mother to colon cancer in 2018 and my father two years later. 

Sisters Kristen Garuckas and Alana Cann of Boca Raton know that pain, too. They lost their mom in 2015 to lung cancer and like me, were just in their 30’s. 

And also like me… somewhere along the way, Garuckas and Cann learned about empowerHER, an organization on a mission to empower, support and connect girls and young women who have lost their mothers. 

EmpowerHER reminds girls they are not alone in their grief and provides positive role models who can relate to the loss of their mothers. 

“To lose your mom at a young age is unimaginable so to be able to help these young girls means so much,” said Garuckas. 

Kristen Garuckas and Alana Cann

Garuckas and Cann are now helping empowerHER bring its nationwide Luminaria fundraising event to Boca Raton for the very first time. The sisters will serve as event ambassadors for Luminaria Boca Raton, one of empowerHER’s ten Luminaria events across the country Mother’s Day weekend.

A whimsical display of personalized luminary bags honoring loved ones will take over the center fountain of Mizner Park on Friday, May 6 from 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m., rain or shine. Luminary bags may be purchased in honor of a loved one in your life today or in memory of a loved one who has passed. The tributes are for men and women alike.

Luminaria Boca Raton will be simple, beautiful and no doubt, powerful. 

 “The past two years, we purchased bags in memory of our mom, so when we were approached to take over the South Florida chapter, we were so happy to have a way to honor our mom‘s memory in a bigger way,” said Garuckas.

“Our mom was the kindest person we know and always volunteered her time so we knew this would be something that would make her so proud. Alana and I are from Boca Raton so having it in the center of Mizner Park seems like a perfect place to do this beautiful display,” added Garuckas.

Luminaria is empowerHER’s largest annual fundraiser and will also take place at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., Oracle Park in San Francisco, Boston, Charlotte, Chicago, Denver, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and New York City.

All proceeds from Luminaria will fund year-round empowerHER events and mentorship and ensure that all empowerHER programs remain at no charge to the families of the young girls the organization supports. 

EmpowerHER started in 2013 when founder Cara Belvin, a Boston native, recognized a need in her community. Belvin lost her mom when she was just 9 years old. For more on Belvin’s story and how you can support empowerHER, listen to Today’s Paige the Podcast, Episode 10.

To purchase a luminary bag in Boca Raton or in any of the participating cities, click here.

Donors to the Boca Raton Luminaria event will receive an exclusive link to photos and a keepsake video (note: not every luminary will be featured). 

I purchased Luminaria 2022 bags in memory of Andrea Kornblue (my mom), Dr. Ed Kornblue (my dad), John Korbel (my first News Director), Eileen Curtis and Kate Briggs (family friends). Please join me in honoring your loved one near or far!

For more from Paige Kornblue, check out Today’s Paige the blog and Today’s Paige the podcast.

Paige Kornblue
Paige Kornblue
Paige Kornblue is an award-winning journalist who founded Paige Kornblue Media and Today’s Paige – the blog and podcast highlighting everything from interesting people, fascinating places and the gems making our communities special. In addition to Boca Magazine, Paige is a TODAY Show Parenting Team Contributor. She has anchored and reported for top-rated television stations across the country including WPTV NBC NewsChannel 5 and WMUR ABC News 9. Paige has also worked at NBC Sports and Dateline NBC and provided live reports for CNN and The Weather Channel. PK is a proud Boca Raton native who grew up loving Boca Magazine and all that comes with the fabulous city of Boca Raton! You can often find her on stage assisting charities as event emcee, on the courts working to improve her tennis game and on momma time enjoying each moment with her three young kiddos!

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