Every Christmas a creative guy named Alek Komarnitsky, who has two kids with celiac disease, raises celiac awareness with Christmas lights. Yes – I said Christmas lights. In addition to raising awareness, over $5o,ooo has been donated to the University of Maryland Center for Celiac Research, due to Alek’s Controllable Christmas Lights. That is a whole lot of holiday spirit indeed!
What is unique about this light display is that online viewers have the ability to control the lights with the click of a mouse. There is even Christmas music on the website, so you can turn on a holiday tune, sit back and enjoy Alek’s Controllable Christmas Lights from the comfort of your own home.
This display is not a virtual one – people in the Lafayette, CO area can drive by and see the lights in person. Since Alek is concerned about the environment, he tries to make his display as “green” as possible. Here is his explanation about what he dos to achieve that:
While people around the world (157 countries last year) enjoy seeing the lights ON, environmentalists will be happy to know that they can turn the lights OFF with a click of the mouse. Better yet, this is the 7th year I’m using Wind Power and even though that is “clean” energy, I even did a Carbon Offset contribution for the 0.6 Tons of CO2 for the ~MegaWatt-Hour of power consumed – that’s about the same as *one* cross-country airline trip. Finally, by providing viewing via webcam, you don’t need to burn fossil fuels by driving around to see Christmas lights … Al Gore would be proud! ;-)
What is really interesting to me is that many people have asked Alek if he takes donations to offset the cost of the lights (power,etc.) and he continues to reply that he does not. Talk about holiday spirit! Alek does ask that people who are so inclined donate to the Center for Celiac Research, which is how Christmas lights helps raise celiac awareness and a lot of money!
Please be aware that Alek’s controllable lights are rather addictive. There is so much to see – and in this case – there is so much to do. In the beginning, the lights were not really controlled by online viewers, but eventually Alek delivered what in the past what had been just an illusion. To learn more about that, read this information from the Center for Celiac Research website. Certainly, not all the millions of online viewers from around the world have celiac disease and many of them have probably never heard of the condition. That’s what makes this display so magical in terms of raising awareness!
*Photo above courtesy of Komar.org.