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Holiday Lights for Cancer Research

One Family’s Amazing Fundraising Efforts Light Up an Entire Community

Pete and Sherri Kimbell have a holiday tradition in Indian Trail, NC that delights their community and raises money for the National Foundation for Cancer Research. By combining their sparkling lights display with their sparkling personalities, they have raised over $9,000 for NFCR so far.

Joan’s Story

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Photo: (left to right) Sherri, Joan and Pete Kimbell

In 2012, Pete’s mother, Joan, was unfortunately diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. But earlier that year, Pete, an IT Manager and Sherri, a receptionist for a local dermatologist, decided to combine their talents and create an amazing holiday light display to wow their friends and neighbors. So, while Joan’s diagnosis was troubling, it led to a new undertaking – a light-display fundraiser.

The family was fortunate – a drug was available to arrest the growth of Joan’s tumor. And, after conducting their own research, the Kimbells learned that this particular drug was created as a result of a scientist’s work funded by the National Foundation for Cancer Research. Because of this, the couple decided 100% of the money they collect during the light display would go to NFCR. Donations like this enable NFCR to continue funding pancreatic cancer research and find the most effective treatments for patients like Joan.

A Dazzling Display

Now in its fifth year, Pete and Sherri’s light display includes over 45,000 individual LED lights and uses nearly 140,000 channels of electricity. The LED lights are individually controlled and every bulb can change color. Onlookers view changing flashes of color that are swept across the couple’s house in all types of patterns and styles synchronized to upbeat holiday tunes.

The annual display begins taking shape in September and, as Peter and Sherri set up, they include new display items they have been hand building throughout the year. Pete is the tireless engineer behind this enterprise, but he gushes about his wife. “Sherri is the creative force; she keeps me in line and reminds me not to go overboard,” says Pete. It’s clear that love, effort and ingenuity come together to create this memorable experience.

What a Bright Time, It’s the Right Time, to Rock the Night Away

Situated on a lovely cul-de-sac, the Kimbells’ illuminated home attracts people from miles away and shines a much-needed light on cancer research. The cars, bursting with family members, flock to the repeating 20-minute display that is synchronized to carefully-selected familiar music and eagerly anticipate what the Kimbells have dreamt up this year.

People are willing to wait for an hour because they know they will not be disappointed. Pete and Sherri greet every visitor personally and enthusiastically hand out candy canes. The candy-cane method allows the couple to count how many people attended –  in 2015, it was more than 5,000! Local nursing homes bring residents in buses and these seniors often get out for a closer look and share stories about how cancer has affected their families. Quite often, spontaneous dancing ensues!

Pete and Sherri never expected their light display would become such a beloved and well-attended attraction. They have created a local tradition and have become significant contributors to cancer research. The icing on the cake? Nobody enjoys the light display more than Joan, the original inspiration for this fundraising effort.

Visit or Support in 2017

The Kimbell’s Garden Oak Holiday Lights will be on display from November 26, 2016 to January 1, 2017. You can visit 6-9pm Sunday-Thursday and 6-10pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

4026 Garden Oak Drive, Indian Trail, NC  28079

To learn more about this wonderful light display and/or make a donation, please visit the website goholidaylights.com

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