When Tracey learned that his cousin’s son, four-year-old Parker, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2011, he was motivated to act – in a big way. “I wanted to take on a challenge and create a project to try to match the enormity of Parker’s cancer diagnosis,” said Tracey. He had already done a race with LLS’s Team In Training, so immediately signed up to run back-to-back marathons while raising funds for research and blogging about Parker and what his family was facing. After the races, he created “The Flat Parker Project.” “It was important to continue to be with Parker on every step of his journey from diagnosis to remission, which we knew could be over three years,” Tracey said. “And through the Flat Parker Project we could continue to tell his story, educate others on leukemia and, importantly, create a fun distraction for Parker and his family during a such challenging time in their lives.” Flat Parker, a 12-inch flat wooden caricature made in the likeness of the real Parker, has been traveling throughout the US and the world for Parker, an adventurous boy who loves to explore, but cannot travel because of his diagnosis. In 2012 Flat Parker traveled all “50 States in 365 Days” and is now on a 2014 World Tour trying to visit all seven continents. He was hosted by the family of an NHL hockey player, in Sochi, Russia, for the Olympics. He’s been to China with a family adopting a special needs child there, and most recently was in Brazil for the World Cup. And who knows, maybe he will make an appearance here in White Plains, NY at the LLS office when he makes it to North America! Parker, now seven, has endured three years of battling cancer, and while he is doing well now, he is still undergoing treatments. Parker and his family have been involved with LLS since shortly after his diagnosis. He was named this year’s "Boy of the Year" of LLS’s Michigan chapter, attending the closing ceremony of the Man & Woman of the Year campaign last month. In 2012, he was the honored hero for the Downriver, MI, Light the Night Walk. “The Flat Parker Project has been a great way to raise awareness about blood cancers and LLS,” Tracey said. “Through it, others have been inspired to act and it has offered hope to many others who have been touched by blood cancers. No one should face cancer alone. Through Parker and his flat buddy, we have created a community - a family of supporters.” Parker’s parents say the project has kept the whole family entertained and distracted, especially during the dark times. They continue to be inspired by the comments and emails coming from people they have never met that pour in from around the US and world, thanks to connections made through social media. You can join Flat Parker on his adventure to travel the world, along with Parker’s journey battling leukemia, through the Flat Parker Facebook page and blog at flatparker.com!!
Please meet Ashlee Jensen.
In February 2013, Ashlee was diagnosed with stage 3 non-Hodgkin lymphoma. At age 19, the odds in receiving such a diagnosis was one in three million.
Just a few months prior, Ashlee was unusually fatigued and noticed lumps in her neck. As time passed, she started feeling itchy and irritated, and attributed the change to the weather. But when the lumps in her neck spread and increased in size her dad insisted Ashlee call the doctor.
After a misdiagnosis of mononucleosis and strep throat, she visited an ear, nose and throat specialist. And upon seeing hundreds of swollen lymph nodes in her neck, the doctor referred Ashlee to Cancer Care Northwest in Spokane, Washington. At the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Ashlee was now being treated for what is one of the rarest cancers for someone her age.
Regardless of losing her hair, her job and not being able to attend school, Ashlee was willing to do whatever it took to get rid of the cancer. After enduring chemotherapy every three weeks, three times a day for six months, her cancer showed no sign of remission. As a precaution however, her doctors collected and froze her stem cells with the possibility of using them as part of a future therapy.
A quick update from Ashlee: “It has been crazy crazy! My cancer is progressing and not responding to treatments! I will once again be starting a new chemotherapy regimen because in order to be a candidate for a bone marrow transplant, I need to be in a slight remission. I’m just hoping something will work for me.”
“I began to appreciate every moment I had and wouldn’t change my life for anything. Fighting to get better has just become a part of me now. I still want to be the young teen I’m supposed to be”, says Ashlee.
If you or a loved one is diagnosed with a blood cancer, please contact our Information Resource Center at 1-800-955-4572.
As the leading global nonprofit dedicated to finding cures and ensuring access to treatments for blood cancer patients, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is building on the successful launch of its Someday is Today brand platform by asking the public to Declare It. Cancer Ends With Me - a strong call for consumers to engage with the LLS mission.
In February 2013, LLS launched a bold new campaign, including a unique public service announcement (PSA) declaring that we're closer than ever to cancer cures. The organization is taking it a step further, to show that every individual can make a positive impact in the fight against blood cancers, and it's using traditional media and extensive social outreach to create a groundswell of awareness for the LLS mission.
"With Cancer Ends With Me, we're making it personal," explains LLS Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Lisa Stockmon. "This is the next phase of our Someday is Today platform; we are creating a movement to show that we can all impact the fight to end blood cancers. We're leveraging every channel possible to spread the word, including a new PSA, Out of Home advertising, compelling social media messaging and inspiring survivor stories of hope and inspiration, to compel the public to participate in our fundraising campaigns or donate to LLS directly."
Declare It. Cancer Ends With Me.
Over its 64 year history, LLS has invested almost $1 billion in research to advance breakthrough treatments in its quest to make someday, today, for blood cancer patients. As there are no means of preventing or early screening for most blood cancers, LLS focuses on finding cures and improving the quality of life for patients and families.
"Thanks to research and better treatments, survival rates for many blood cancers have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled since the1960s," states LLS President & CEO, John Walter. "But, despite these advances, more than a third of blood cancer patients don't survive five years after diagnosis. That's why it's vital for us to continue to generate awareness for our mission and raise funds to invest in cures and access to lifesaving therapies."
CancerEndsWithMe.orgVisit our new mobile and tablet optimized site, www.cancerendswithme.org to learn more and Declare It. Click the "Discover" button and be inspired by compelling survivor story videos. Make your own declaration on the site and share it on social media using #cancerendswithme. LLS is also on Facebook and Twitter.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma SocietyThe Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
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. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
Growing up in his hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, Joe DiPenta dreamed of pursuing a career in the NHL. He not only achieved his dream, he excelled at it. During his 11 years as a professional hockey player, Joe earned a reputation as a stay-at-home defenseman, culminating as a member of the 2007 Stanley Cup Champion Anaheim Ducks. As a result, he joined a select group of players who have won both the Stanley Cup and the Calder Cup – the American Hockey League (AHL) championship trophy.
Now retired from professional hockey, Joe is continuing his fight, this time to help cure blood cancer. He recently joined LLS as the executive director of the Halifax chapter where he is responsible for managing all fundraising and overseeing LLS’s primary campaigns -- Light The Night and Team In Training.
Joe says he has always had a passion for finding a cure for cancer from the loss of family and friends to the disease. His interest in cancer fundraising dates back to his time in Anaheim when he had a foundation called Shoot for the Cure. The foundation raised money for the Children’s Hospital of Orange County’s oncology unit. He saw the good being done for families and children affected by cancer through the foundation and he wanted to make a difference in the community where he grew up. That led him to LLS.
Joe was also inspired by the many NHL players who are affected by blood cancer: Mario Lemieux, Paul Henderson, Saku Koivu and Jason Blake, to name a few. At the Halifax Light The Night walk, Joe will be walking in memoriam for NHL player Shawn Burr who lost his two-year battle with leukemia in August at age 47. He left behind his wife and two daughters.
Joe says the biggest transition from the NHL to LLS is managing others and helping the campaigns raise as much money as they can. Ironically, being a part of LLS is more of a team approach than being a hockey player when all he had to do is worry about himself and his performance.
LLS is happy to have Joe fighting on our team to help find a cure for blood cancers.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is proud of our long history of supporting the work of Brian Druker, M.D., Director of OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Oregon Health and Science University. Druker is a world-renowned researcher with a proven track record of success in revolutionizing the treatment of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). Early on LLS saw the potential of Druker’s pioneering work, and invested at a time when others were skeptical of taking a risk on a drug with limited market size. LLS funded his early breakthrough studies proving the anti-leukemia activity of a novel enzyme inhibitor now known as Gleevec®, and later the clinical trials that led to the accelerated FDA approval of the drug that is now that is now saving countless lives of patients with CML and helping patients with other cancers as well. In recent years Druker has turned his attention to AML and other types of leukemia, and through our Specialized Center of Research program, LLS has continued to support his work.
LLS features Druker in this video, posted on the LLS.org video gallery, in which he talks about how the early funding from LLS helped him at a critical juncture in his research, when he was trying to translate a laboratory discovery to clinical application. Druker concludes by saying that when people ask him where they should donate their money his answer is simple: “The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the best investment of your funds; LLS is making an impact and accelerating progress.”
The video can also be viewed on our YouTube Channel.
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