On a bright day this past September, a group of tourists wandered on to the historic amphitheater at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco. They shuffled on stage and gradually joined in the celebration, dancing to the music that wafted out to the crowd.

A woman from the group asked me to take their picture. She asked what the festival was about. When I told her that we were raising awareness for liver disease, her mouth dropped open.

The celebration happening around us was the American Liver Foundation’s annual Liver Walk. The woman looked around in wonder. The excitement was electric. This kind of merrymaking isn’t what’s typically expected from people who are battling a disease.

The front of the park had large columns of balloons framing a DJ, who played upbeat dance music. More balloons at the back of the park marked the Liver Walk’s finish line. There, volunteers cheered as families and friends completed their victory lap.

Throughout the park, vendors and booths offered information, prizes, face painting, healthy snacks, and treats for all. At the Healthline photo booth, laughter floated out to the park as precious memories were captured.

Families, friends, and individuals had come together with one goal in mind: to make their contribution to The American Liver Foundation (ALF). Some families walked with a loved one who lives with liver disease. Others celebrated liver transplantation or victory over liver cancer. And some groups came as a memorial tribute to a loved one who had lost the battle with liver disease.

The Liver Walk in San Francisco is just one part of a coast to coast effort to raise awareness and funds to fight liver disease. Fundraising provides the resources needed for research into finding new treatments. Public education spreads the word about how to prevent liver disease. The ALF also provides support for individuals and families who need it most.

When people unite to help each other, it’s always a celebration. At the Liver Walk, the dedication of each person is seen in the lives of future generations who will benefit from the programs and services provided. Yes, the wild cheering at the end of each event is an enthusiastic and purposeful act against liver disease.

I snapped a picture of the group of tourists, who smiled widely beside the ALF’s banner. With open hearts and dancing feet, we continued the celebration. The ALF and all its supporters had completed another triumphant Liver Walk in the park — and we’ve got the pictures to show it.