Candy Cane Lane open for 37th year, accepting donations for childhood cancer research

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- A decades-long holiday tradition kicked off Friday night in West Allis. The 37th annual Candy Cane Lane is now open and collecting donations for childhood cancer research.

Many of the neighbors did not live there when the tradition started years ago, but they feel a responsibility to keep it going.

Jessica Guiro drove through Candy Cane Lane with her husband and son. She said, "As soon as we got out of the car he said, 'wow!' So it's really fun as a family to be able to do these things."

The Guiro family was one of many happy to be back along Candy Cane Lane. Her husband Amed said, "It's super nice and heartwarming to walk around."

Jessica said, "I think this year is a little more special for us because he can experience it and really enjoy it."

In 1984 the West Allis neighborhood bound by 92nd and 96th, Oklahoma to Montana, started collecting donations in honor of a neighborhood child that was diagnosed with cancer.

Since then, Candy Cane Lane has raised more than $3 million for the MACC fund, Midwest Athletes against Childhood Cancer.

Alli Neumann is the events coordinator. She said, "People are very excited to move into the neighborhood, to know that they get a chance to decorate and have people come through."

Volunteers collect donations in blue buckets as people drive through.

Neumann said, "They don't have to do this, but it is out of the goodness of their hearts that everybody does continue to turn on their lights."

She said the MACC fund's goal is to cure childhood cancer and related blood disorders. Since it began, overall cure rates have risen from 20% to 80%.

The past two years were the highest-grossing ever: $200,000 in donations in 2020 and $160,000 in 2021.

Neumann said, "Seeing kids coming through, and just the joy on their faces, is wonderful."

And that's why families like the Guiros come back each year to donate. Amed said, "I think we found the best house, too. So we had to take pictures at this house."

The lights will shine brightly from now through Christmas Day. Donations can be made at 95th and Manitoba or online.

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