When I was about 6, a 4-year-old cousin of mine died of leukemia. I don’t remember much from back, but the vision of little Mark in his coffin — his favorite Matchbox car in his hand — at the visitation is etched in my brain.

I thought about that when I received an e-mail last week from somebody at Hike For Discovery, a fund-raiser organized by Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It works like this: you sponsor a patient or hike in honor of one … the society organizes several weeks’ worth of training hikes culminating in a major hike at some locale of proper scenic splendor. Bay Area folks are planning theirs in the Grand Canyon and Yosemite this spring (just my luck, both are on days when I can’t get off work, alas).

Planning get-togethers for this season’s hiking are already getting organized. At the site, you enter your zip code and find out which hikes are happening nearby. If you join up you will be obliged to beg all your friends, family and co-workers for cash, but it’ll be for a good cause (who doesn’t want a cure for cancer?)