Perry County light show benefits girl battling liver disease, cancer

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ELLIOTTSBURG, Pa. (WHTM) — Things tend to get a lot brighter along Sherman’s Valley Road near Elliottsburg this time of year.

The annual Kolak Christmas Light Show is once again underway, featuring an elaborate setup of lights synchronized to music that visitors can tune in to with their FM radio. The show is free, but those who pull off to the side of the rural road to enjoy it are encouraged to deposit monetary donations into a box at the end of Kevin Kolak’s driveway. All funds are donated to a local family experiencing some type of financial difficulty.

Kolak began the show seven years ago, stemming from his wife’s request for an abundance of Christmas lights on their home and front yard. By year two, Kolak had purchased controllers for his lights, allowing him to set them to music.

“I went online and looked at some things I liked,” recalls Kolak. “I heard stories and on forums for Christmas lights that people were collecting for somebody. I said I could do that!”

Each year, the light display has increased in popularity, and donations have continued to grow. Last year, Kolak donated nearly $9,000 to the family of the late Alan Bankert, a Newport delivery driver who died suddenly in a crash on the Pennsylvania Turnpike just months before.

“This year it is for Avielle Zerance,” said Kolak. “She is a Biliary Atresia patient. She is four years old. She had to have her liver transplanted when she was one. Her mother gave her a lobe of her liver, which weakened her immune system and she developed cancer.”

According to Kolak, who has yet to meet Avielle in person, the little girl from Elliottsburg is now cancer-free, but continues to require frequent medical attention and hospital stays. A recent week-long stay at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia resulted in more than $300 in travel costs for the family, in fuel and tolls.

“Its got to be hard,” said Kolak. “They have to know that people in this community really feel for them and care about them. They don’t want to appear as if they are coming to someone with their hand out, but that is not what this is at all. Its just the joy of helping someone out. We hope our donations will do that for them this year.”

The Kolak Christmas Light Show can be viewed nightly after dark at 1976 Shermans Valley Road, Elliottsburg, PA 17024.

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