Help Support the Fight against Blood Cancers

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

In 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.

Links:

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.

Kiarrah-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

Links:

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:

1. Ease the fears and give hope to newly diagnosed patients by linking them with others who have been through the same diagnosis or treatment.

2. Extend remissions with a new immunotherapy for CLL patients for whom standard chemotherapies do not work.

3. Predict and prevent serious bone damage that can occur after lymphoid cancer patients receive high steroid doses. A clinical trial is already testing one prevention strategy in young ALL patients.

4. Advocate on behalf of blood cancer patients to ensure that oral anti-cancer medications are covered under the same "medical benefit" provision as injected drugs rather than the less generous "pharmacy benefit."

5. Complete a Phase III clinical trial initiated by Onconova Therapeutics, Inc. that could lead to the FDA-approval of a new targeted drug for patients with myelodysplastic syndromes.

6. Continue investing in partnerships with commercial enterprises to move promising new therapies more quickly toward F.D.A. approval such as one currently being tested by Acetylon Pharmaceuticals for myeloma patients.

7. Develop state-of-the-art tests that measure the activities of various blood cancers, so that new therapies can be identified for patients with difficulty in responding to standard treatments.

8. Advance clinical testing for a new drug that inhibits a molecule involved in certain aggressive lymphomas as well as leukemias that are particularly difficult to cure.

9. Sustain an alliance with Epizyme and the development of a new targeted drug for patients with mixed lineage leukemia (MLL) against which today's standard therapies are largely ineffective.

10. Provide the most current, comprehensive disease information and treatment options to North Americans who receive the alarming news of a blood cancer diagnosis.

11. Ensure co-payment and financial assistance to patients who would be forced to choose between expensive treatments and essential needs when health insurance doesn't cover their therapies.

12. Partner on a clinical trial that advances a drug for B-cell leukemia and lymphoma patients that was originally developed for arthritis patients.

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.

Donate Today!

Thank you for your generosity,
John E. Walter
President & CEO, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Your children can usually tell when something is bothering you.  As a parent, you want to protect your children-- but for them, sensing that something is wrong and not being able to talk to you about it, often causes a great deal of fear and worry. Talking to your children at a level that is right for their ages and personalities can help make both you and your children feel a greater sense of control during this difficult time.  Have faith in your children’s ability to handle the news.  Being truthful with your children will give them a better understanding of what you're going through and will give them the opportunity to share their feelings and concerns.

Some factors you may want to consider to help you talk with your child about your cancer are:

  • Use words and ideas that are age-appropriate. Provide your child with information at a level that matches his or her ability to understand. You may need to give your child information more than once. If you have children of varying ages, you may need to approach the subject differently for each child.
  • Use your child’s questions as a guide to what he or she wants to know.  Consider your child’s style of coping. Preferences about the amount of information children want varies.
  • Encourage your child to talk about his or her fears and concerns. Children may have fears or concerns that hadn't crossed your mind.  Let your child know it is okay to be open with you and encourage her or him to get information directly from you.
  • Ask someone else to do the talking. There may be times when you feel it would be best for your child to talk with someone other than you. This could be another family member, friend, religious or spiritual advisor or a healthcare professional.  A doctor, psychologist, nurse, social worker and/or a child life specialist on your healthcare team may be able to help you find the right words to talk to your child or you may want them to interact directly with your child.
  • Remind your child of how much you love them. Explain that even if you're feeling cranky or tired, you still love them and always will. Take the opportunity to acknowledge and praise your child when he or she is doing things that are difficult.

Talk it out.  No matter how much you prepare for the conversation, you may still have questions.  If you're having trouble deciding how or if to tell your children, your healthcare team may be able to give you advice. You can also contact The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) chapter in your area or an LLS Information Specialist (800-955-4572).  Visit the LLS Blood Cancer Discussion Boards to speak with other parents.  In addition visit www.lls.org to review our vast information for patients and caregivers, and contact national and local offices for additional support.

Jennifer and Audrey Liles
Jennifer and Audrey Liles

Have you ever considered asking the tooth fairy for a donation?  That's exactly what Audry Liles did while participating in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's School & Youth Program.- Pennies for Patients.
 
When I heard about this, it reminded me just how powerful children can be. I'm enclosing the note sent to us from Jennifer Liles, Audrey's Mom.

This is the 2nd year my daughter has participated in 'Pennies for Patients' at her elementary school, Piney Point Elementary School, Tall Timbers, MD.  Today she brought home the information and emptied her piggy bank to fill up the box for the LLS program. My daughter just turned seven and is in the 1st grade.

After dinner she asked me for a blank piece of paper to write a letter the tooth fairy and asked me not to look.  When she got done this is what she had written:

(I have not edited grammar or spelling)

Dear tooth fairy we are having a thing at school called Make change beat cancer. We have to send money to the school and donate to other people that don't have the money to buy the medicine for there sick kids. So I was thinking you could come to my house tonight and leave me money so I can bring it to school. Love, Audrey Liles

This made my heart melt and I really felt the need to share it with you. 

Thank you,
Jennifer Likes (Audrey's Mom).
 
We're always amazed at the impact children are making on the lives of patients with cancer.  This year alone, more than 15 million students raised $26 million through our School & Youth Programs to help beat cancer.  We are grateful for people like Audrey, her mom Jennifer, and for all tooth fairies. Your support makes a difference.
 
For more information about LLS's vital work, visit www.lls.org.

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Kristin Hoose

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White Plains, New York United States

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