Remarkable progress has been made in treating patients with blood cancers, with survival rates for many having doubled or tripled, and in some cases quadrupled, since the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was founded in 1949. Yet, more than 1 million North Americans are fighting blood cancers, the third-leading cause of cancer death.
Each September, LLS observes Blood Cancer Awareness Month to shed light on these diseases and to let the public know about all the resources available for blood cancer patients and their families.
To coincide with the 30 days of September, LLS will conduct a “30-Drop Campaign,” comprised of 30 blood drops, each containing a significant fact about blood cancer and LLS’s impact. There will also be an extensive giving campaign, including text-to-donate and online donations throughout the month to support blood cancer research and patient services.
The campaign includes a poster, online and social networking components, and an ad placement in USA Today, as well as in local media.
“Awareness Month is an opportunity to increase the community’s understanding of blood cancers and encourage people to support the funding of research to find cures and education programs to help patients have the best possible outcomes throughout their cancer experience,” said Anthony Ortiz-Luis, development director.
For more than 64 years, LLS has been a beacon of help and guidance to those touched by blood cancer.
Since its inception, LLS has invested more than $875 million in research to find cures and better therapies. LLS supports investigators’ efforts to find new molecular targets for treatment and potential immunotherapies, and helps them translate their laboratory findings into more effective therapies for patients. Its Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP) is a bold initiative to quickly develop the next round of blood cancer therapies. And the impact is being felt: survival rates for children with acute lymphocytic leukemia, the most common childhood cancer, have risen over the past 40 years from 3 percent to nearly 90 percent today; Hodgkin lymphoma patient survival rates have doubled to 86 percent since the 1960s, and survival rate for myeloma patents has more than tripled in the past decade.
Through its patient services programs, LLS offers a comprehensive array of education and support services to blood cancer patients and their families. There are family support groups, free patient education workshops featuring health experts, and First Connection — a peer-to-peer support program that matches newly diagnosed patients with trained volunteer survivors. A back-to-school program helps children treated for cancer transition back to school. LLS also provides financial assistance to patients with significant financial need and an insurance co-pay assistance program.
LLS’s website — www.LLS.org — is the definitive resource for information about blood cancers and its Information Resource Center is a call center staffed by master’s level social workers, nurses and health educators who provide information, support and resources to patients and their families and caregivers. IRC information specialists are available at 800.955.4572 from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Click here to donate today to help bring about a world without blood cancers.
— Erin Pearson is a senior marketing and community outreach manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.