Each month we feature a new charity to share with our readers in hopes that they might donate to or at least spread the word to others for awareness. For August we decided to profile The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Bree Davidson works at the WA/AK chapter of LLS, based in Seattle. Bree was more than happy to fill us in on the details about LLS on not only a local Seattle scale, but nationally as well.
Here’s the broad description of LLS from the national site:
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
Here’s why I love what I do:
In the ten years I’ve been here, I’ve seen giant leaps forward in treatment and patients’ quality of life. Giant leaps made by our very own researchers, like Dr. Brian Druker, who was part of the team that developed Gleevec. This therapy, taken in pill form, can put patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) into remission without having to go through chemotherapy and radiation. CML, once considered a death sentence, has become a treatable condition, and patients are able to go about their everyday lives. I know a firefighter who responded to Gleevec so well that within two weeks of therapy, his white counts were back to normal level. John’s recovery was remarkable, and he was able to climb 69 flights of the Columbia Tower in full SCBA as a participant in the Scott Firefighter Stairclimb. I still get teary thinking about that celebration at the top of the tower.
There are lots of other amazing stories of survival and triumph. For example, Eric Cox from Seattle saw his wife and two-year old son both diagnosed with cancer in a four month span in 2005. In the midst of their treatment, an idea was born: the wildly zany (and dirty) Winter Pineapple Classic, a 5K run with obstacles now in its fifth year. It’s coming November 13, 2010 to Mountain Meadows Farm in North Bend, WA, and it is not to be missed. Combine creative obstacles, hilarious costumes, and a post-event luau with a great cause, and you’ve got one great event. (If you find yourself in North Texas rather than anywhere near North Bend, WA… never fear… it’s coming to the Double D Ranch in Mesquite, TX on November 20. Don’t miss the inaugural event!
In my time working at LLS, I’ve also seen our honorees (patients and survivors) celebrate milestones, like their five-year remission day, their final day of treatment, or their new transplant ‘birthdays.’ One of the most powerful ways I’ve seen people celebrate is by completing a Team In Training endurance event. Two young men we knew as child honorees have now completed TNT events-Kaelan did a marathon and Alex did a 100-mile cycle century. So cool. (Understatement).
Given that September is National Blood Cancer Awareness Month, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Light The Night, an evening walk held across North America. Picture thousands of softly lit balloons (red for supporters, white for survivors, and gold in memory of someone lost) at twilight. It’s powerful, moving, and everyone can participate. Check it out at www.lightthenight.org and consider joining Team Kareem, a nationwide team led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is living well with CML thanks to Gleevec.
Want to Help?
1. Donate: www.lls.org/donate
2. Check out the wide array of fundraising events that LLS hosts throughout the year, like Light The Night, Team In Training, Pennies For Patients, the Leukemia Cup Regatta, and Man & Woman of theYear. Visit your local chapter’s site to learn about one-of-a-kind local events too. (Enter your zip code in the chapter finder at www.lls.org)
3. Call your local chapter to volunteer your time. Whether you’d like to support Team In Training athletes as they practice for marathons or 100-mile century rides or you’d like to help with office tasks, we appreciate your time and talents. Visit www.lls.org or call (800) 955-4572 and ask for your local chapter’s contact information.
Look, we do things randomly around here, so this charity feature will run with us until mid/late September. That’s how we roll.
If you have an idea for a charity that you would like to have profiled on Randomville, then please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org