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The Leukemia Lymphoma Society Blog

30 Posts authored by: whitleyt

Dear Friends,

Here is a Mother's Day gift that requires no watering, adds no calories and can save lives.


Dan grew up wondering how long his mother would survive her 25-year struggle with breast cancer and leukemia.  Today, he knows that research supported by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) decades earlier led to the science that gave his mother time to see three children grow up and six grandchildren born.



Blood cancer research can be the gateway to curing other diseases because it's easier to study cancer-causing molecules and test new therapies in blood than in solid tumors. By funding research and expediting promising science toward approval and commercial development, LLS is transforming good ideas into new therapies for patients.


One promising clinical trial is using a targeted drug that blocks pathways that are active in cancer cell growth and survival.  So far, nearly half the trial participants have more than doubled the median survival term.  Inspired by these results, LLS has raised $3.5 million to accelerate this trial by one year.  We need another $1.5 million to complete the task.


Your gift toward research will help accelerate saving lives in the same way that earlier advances enabled Dan's mother to see her family grow.




Thank you for your generosity!


John E. Walter

President & CEO

Dear Friends.

In addition to gifts of flowers and candy this Mother's Day, consider gifts of hope and health!


Eight years ago, Jane was diagnosed with lymphoma just three weeks after giving birth to her second son.  In short order, Jane and her husband were packing up their newborn and a three-year-old for the first of a series of trips to Houston for chemotherapy. jane_spring.jpg


Within two years, Jane's routine moved from active treatment to active training for the Austin Half-Marathon through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Team In Training, a way for her to raise money to help accelerate finding cures for other patients.  " I value scientific research," Jane reports enthusiastically. " I know that a relapse would require new treatment."


LLS is partnering on a promising new treatment with a biotechnology company and we need your help.  We're supporting a late-phase clinical trial that could lead to approval of a new drug that might double survival for some blood cancer patients.


LLS looks to accelerate the trial by a full year, providing a life-saving difference to patients who have few other treatment options.  LLS has raised 70 percent of the funds needed and is seeking the remaining $1.5 million to hasten the completion of this trial.  Your donation can speed progress and provide hope to cancer patients like Jane.




Thank you for your generosity.



John E. Walter

President & CEO

If You're a New Yorker -- Here's what you can do to participate:

Today advocates from all over New York are gathering in Albany to urge their state officials to ensure that the essential health benefits established as part of New York’s health insurance exchange include a set of core principles that will protect and benefit cancer patients at all stages of their cancer care. Understandably, not everyone is able to make the trip to Albany, but there are still ways that you can be a part of the action without the travel!

The first is to make your voice heard! By taking just one minute you can join the volunteers on the ground by visiting LLS’s Advocacy Center to send a pre-drafted email urging your representatives to support this legislation. You can even personalize your message so that your representatives understand fully your connection to blood cancer and the importance of ensuring quality care for cancer patients in the essential health benefits package developed in New York. To learn more about this issue, please visit the LLS’s State Campaign webpage.

The second way you can participate is by following the day online! LLS volunteers and staff will be adding content throughout the day on LLS's Advocacy Communiity, Facebook, Twitter and Flickr pages. If you are already a member of these communities, simply log on and follow us throughout the day. If you have not currently signed up for these services, please take a moment to sign up for free today and begin to enjoy all of the great content LLS provides!

Just because you could not make the trip to Albany does not mean you cannot still participate in the day’s activities. Our event begins at 10:30 a.m. Please follow along!

One Woman's Cancer Journey

Posted by whitleyt Apr 19, 2012

This is a story of a woman's cancer journey and the appreciation she has for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).


pen.gifIn February of 2010, I received the frightening news that I had Hodgkin's disease.  After a PET scan and two biopsies, I was hit with the additional news that I was positive for stage 2 Lymphoma.  I was 42 and scared to death.


When I went in for my first visit with oncologist Dr. Rafique of Tri County Hematology and Oncology in Ohio, I found out how expensive chemotherapy is and how health insurance doesn't cover it all.  Fortunately, my doctor directed me to LLS and they helped with more than 50% of my insurance co-pages.  This was a major relief and allowed me to concentrate on fighting the illness and getting better.


My 12 rounds of chemotherapy ended in the fall of 2010.  Unfortunately, I sustained lung damage from one of the chemotherapy agents and had to spend three weeks in the hospital recovering.  I had another PET scan in April of 2011 and was given the great news that I was in remission!


I am forever grateful for my wonderful doctor and the financial support I received from LLS.  I encourage everyone to help this great organization and other cancer patients to take advantage of the support they provide.


~ Cynthia Clark


Cynthia was so grateful for the help she received during treatment, she has designated LLS as a beneficiary in her retirement plan.  Cynthia has insured that the hope and support she felt from LLS during her treatment will carry-on for others.


On behalf of patients everywhere, thank you Cynthia.


Learn more about how you can designate LLS as a beneficiary.


Wishing you the best of health,



John E. Walter,

President & CEO

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Running Helps Beat Cancer

Posted by whitleyt Mar 20, 2012

Dear Friend,


When I read stories like this one, I'm reminded of the spirit and fortitude that moves ordinary people to do extraordinary things. 


In May of 2007 my husband, Mathew, went for a removal of a cyst from his neck.  A week later I received a phone call from the surgeon's office saying they had his results and we needed to come in.  We all knew that if the results were fine, we wouldn't be asked to come into the office.  This was my husband, my soul mate, my best friend, the father of my two children.  On the phone the nurse said it looked like lymphoma.


The next three weeks were filled with tests, pet scans, bone marrow biopsies and doctor appointments.  It was stage 4 Follicular Lymphoma.  On June 3rd Mathew started his first round of therapy (R-CHOP, Rituxan along with chemotherapy).


During this time, our daughter persuaded me to join our school running club.  I explained that mommy didn't run, or even sweat!  On the first weekend of June I ran my first 5K.  I also found The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) on the web, contacted them regarding my husband's diagnosis and learned about Team In Training (TNT).  I found out it was LLS's endurance sports training program.  I already ran 3 miles; maybe I could do a half marathon?


While Mathew was in treatment I trained and raised over $11,000.  In the fall I ran my first half marathon, running into my husband's arms at the finish line.  Mathew finished his chemotherapy in October and then went through radiation therapy until Christmas.  That holiday we got the best present ever; the doctor told us he was in remission!


~ Karen Brady


Some people like Karen have personal reasons for supporting LLS; reasons that give way to new and exciting ways to help beat cancer.


Together we are making a difference in patients' lives with new discoveries and treatments that bring us, every day closer to cures!


Wishing you the best of health,



John E.  Walter,

President & CEO, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society


Dear Friends,

As a passionate supporter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), I would like to share with you the story of this year's Girl of the Year for LLS's Man & Woman of the Year campaign in Miami.  I hope you will find it as inspirational as I did.


JD.jpgKiarrah-Dashe' was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on May 19, 2011 when she was just 4 years old.


KD was getting fevers and suffering from exhaustion, I knew something was wrong when she started taking naps and brought her to the hospital.  In the ER they found  nothing, so I followed up with her pediatrician.  She didn't see anything out of the ordinary but ran blood tests anyway.  Later that night her pediatrician called and told me to take her directly to the ER.  When I got to the hospital more tests were run and after hours of waiting it was finally confirmed.  KD had leukemia. 


While the worst part about the entire ordeal was finding out, the four week hospital stay and weekly doctor visits was no "walk in the park"  However, it's a small price to pay when you can hold your child every day.  The doctors and nurses at Holtz Children's Hospital are the best.  They made the whole experience bearable by treating KD like a normal kid.  As KD says, "she just has bugs in her blood." 


KD was back to herself in just 3 weeks, talking a mile a minute and acting like she had ants in her pants.  Throughout this entire life-changing event we kept telling ourselves that it could have been worse. She is an amazing strong little girl that has taught us all to always remain positive.


Tyrashiana, KD's Mom


Many of you have your own stories or have been moved to support LLS by someone like KD. One of LLS's oldest fundraising programs is our neighbor to neighbor campaign.  People share their stories with friends and neighbors and ask them to support the cause.


If you'd like to participate in the neighbor to neighbor campaign this year, it would be greatly appreciated.  Nothing is more powerful than a friend asking a friend to support the cause that is dear to them.  Please fill out this form and a neighborhood campaign kit will be mailed to you. 


Wishing you the best of health,


John E. Walter

President & CEO, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society


Dear Friend.

On behalf of everyone touched by blood cancers, we thank you for your contributions and commitment to supporting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) last year.


When a person has been supporting cancer research, as you have been, we feel it's important to recap for you some of the 2011 accomplishments you dollars helped achieve.


In 2011 we saw:


  • LLS drive research in particular areas where patients have desperate needs for more effective treatments, particularly patients with relapsed refectory myeloma.
  • LLS fund Dr. Carl June, M.D., who genetically engineered immune cells to be better cancer fighters, producing remissions for patients whom standard therapies never worked.
  • LLS create strategic partnerships with companies like Avila therapeutics to advance a new therapy showing great promise for patients with lymphoid cancers.


These and other promising advances and initiatives would not have been possible without your continued support. You are helping achieve our vision:  a world without blood cancers.




Thanks to you and people like you, we can do it -- we can find cures.



John E. Walter, President & CEO, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society


Dear Friend,

We asked our supporters to share their reason for giving to LLS. This was Melissa's:


"So no one has to hear the words 'you have leukemia.' I am a 2 year Lymphoblastic Leukemia survivor!"


With the generous support of people like you, LLS makes sure all blood cancer patients have access to the most up-to-date information on treatments, clinical trials, and services that meet their unique needs from diagnosis and throughout their cancer journey.  And blood cancer can wreak havoc on family finances. Some patients have difficulty paying for transportation to their treatment center.  LLS patient assistance can help.


While we help patients diagnosed each day, LLS is also accelerating the development of new drugs and therapies.  LLS is funding impactful research, from discoveries to new treatment approvals that are helping blood cancer patients live better, longer lives.  And many blood cancer advances are cross-cutting, also helping patients with solid tumors and other serious illnesses.


It's a critical time for blood cancer research and your help is crucial in bringing us closer to our vision - 'A world without blood cancers.'  The 12 reasons to support LLS in 2012, will illustrate why we think LLS is worthy of your consideration.


Melissa has her reason for supporting LLS. What's yours? Please donate today and share with us your reasons for giving.


Thank you for your generosity and Happy Holidays!


John E. Walter

President & CEO, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society


Happy Holidays from LLS!

Posted by whitleyt Dec 16, 2011



Dear Friend,

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.  In our home, it is a time of great company, abundant food and reflection, for we have much to give thanks for.


I want to thank you for the support you've provided The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) this past year.  You made it possible for LLS to provide supportive services, advocate for life-saving treatments and fund the most promising blood cancer research anywhere.  Our investments in blood cancer research, from basic molecular studies, to translational research that moves promising work from the "bench to bedside" and collaborative projects that encourage work among researchers, are moving us toward our vision: a world without blood cancers. 


We are grateful for your past contributions and welcome your support now more than ever. Why now? We have started a list -- 12 reasons for you to support LLS in 2012.  But this is just a start. Please donate today and share your reasons to give with the LLS community. 


Whether you are passionate about developing more, less toxic treatments that improve the quality of life for patients, or providing financial assistance that helps ease the burden during these tough economic times, your support will give help and hope to patients and their families.



Thank you for your generosity,

John E. Walter

President & CEO, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Don't miss this Friday, December 9th, satellite symposium sponsored by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, at the 53rd ASH Annual Meeting.



Remember Your Prom Photo?

Posted by whitleyt Oct 26, 2011

Dear Friends,



The Executive Director from our Mid-America chapter, Janna LaCock, recently shared a photo with me that perfectly illustrates the saying "a picture is worth a thousand words."  High school senior, Katie Gerstner was recently diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML).  While undergoing treatment, she was crowned 2011 Homecoming Queen at Blue Springs South High School, a title she accepts proudly.


As a father and step-dad of five teenagers, I know what a roller-coaster of emotions those years are all too well!  When I look at this picture, I see an incredibly courageous young woman, fighting cancer with a positive attitude and the incredible support of her family and friends.


At The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), we too are a caring community of staff, donors and volunteers, supporting blood cancer patients and their families.  Whether they are running, cycling or swimming with LLS's Team In Training, collecting spare change through our School & Youth programs, raising money alongside colleagues through the Light The Night Walk, or challenging themselves in the Man & Woman of the Year campaign, the LLS community is helping save lives.


Lives like Katie's.  Just last week Katie learned she is in remission! She turns 18 in a couple of days.  We wish you a very happy birthday Katie and many, many more.


All the best,


John E.Walter

President & CEO, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

LLS logo V RGB72.jpg


Dear Friend of LLS:


Because blood cancers are considered 'orphan diseases' with small markets and lower profit potential, there is little financial incentive for pharmaceutical companies to invest in new treatments, particularly at the preclinical or early clinical phase.  The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), through its Therapy Acceleration Program, provides vital support to advance investigations that show great promise for near-item benefit to blood cancer patients even if there is limited commercial value.


A prime example of how LLS bridges the commercial development gap is a partnership begun last year with Ascenta Therapeutics.  The firm was developing a drug that neutralized the proteins that make cancer cells resistant to treatment in patients with cases of acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) that are unlikely to be controlled by standard therapies.


LLS provided funding to test this drug in combination with standard AML therapy in a Phase I trial in adults.  Further, LLS is helping to develop prognostic tests to determine which patients might respond best to the treatment.  As a result of this early-phase funding by LLS, the drug is now positioned to advance to later phase clinical trials and Ascenta has successfully partnered with a Swiss Pharmaceutical company, Debiopharm, which has the financial capacity to commercialize this new treatment.


Without LLS investment at a crucial early stage, this drug might never have made it into clinial trial.  Now, it's several steps closer to being developed into a commercial product that may bring real relief to AML patients.  LLS is committed to moving potential treatments through the drug development pipeline.


Your support makes a difference.  For more information on LLS's vital work, visit www.lls.org.


Wishing you the best of health,




John E. Walter

President & CEO

World Lymphoma Awareness Day (WLAD) is held on September 15 every year and is a day dedicated to raising awareness of lymphomas, an increasingly common form of cancer.  It is a global initiative hosted by the Lymphoma Coalition, a non-profit network organisation of 50 lymphoma patient organisations from 37 countries around the world, including The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.


Since its launch in 2004, WLAD has made its mark internationally.  The global campaign continues to provide a platform for doctors, nurses, patient support organisations, patients and their families to share vital knowledge about lymphoma, its signs and symptoms, and how it affects the lives of thousands of people around the world.


Making A Difference on World Lymphoma Awareness Day


  • Sign the Petition to encourage governments to fund research the world over.
  • Download the Lymphoma 101 App to support research efforts

The Lymphoma 101 App is available for download FREE on iPhone, Android or BlackBerry mobile phone applications. Click on the app store icon on your home screen.  Type the word lymphoma 101, or any of the 9 other languages into the search function.  Click install or download.

(Note:  if it does not show up, try again the next day as each company will take a certain amount of time to upload the application into their store.)


For More About Lymphoma Information and Support

See these www.lls.org resources:


The following telephone and web conferences are free to the public. Please save these dates and share with anyone you feel would benefit from them:



Sept. 14th from 1-2 p.m.
Dr. Carol Portlock



Sept. 27th from 1-2:30 p.m.
Dr. Asher Chanan-Khan



  • CML - An Expert Discussion About Diagnosis and Treatment

Oct. 25th from 1-2 p.m.
Dr. Michael Mauro
Registration will be available at the end of September at www.LLS.org/programs



You’ll find upcoming telephone and web conferences posted under Featured News on the homepage of www.lls.org and information on both current and past programs  on the Patient Education Programs (www.LLS.org/programs) section of www.lls.org.


To speak to one of our Information Specialists about this series, call 800/955-4572 or send us an email.

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