Doing Good: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

LTN_01The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary nonprofit health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. Since 1949, it has been dedicated to curing leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. However, their tireless work goes well beyond the world of blood cancers, explains Sarah Callahan, LLS’s Campaign Specialist based in Massachusetts. “Our research over the past 60 years has informed the creation and development of drugs and treatments used to treat and cure other forms of cancer. The processes that LLS has been involved in really have shaped the face of cancer treatment around the world.”

Part of Sarah’s work is to help raise awareness and funds for patients and their families living with blood cancer in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. “It’s the patient interactions that affect me the most,” she says. “They help me know how important this work is, and they re-energize me. People that have been affected are so determined to see an end to cancer.”

Sarah became aware of LLS after her godfather’s 10-year battle with a chronic leukemia condition. “The support and guidance he received was so important. Most of his treatment was from LLS trials.” Once Sarah learned more about the organization, she did what she could to help. “I wanted to get involved. I wanted to give back.”

LTN_10_survivorSarah’s work, and the work of the Society as a whole, is focused on several goals that develop and strengthen research, patient services, and policy. As a way to connect their community of patients, families, supporters, academics, and medical professionals, LLS creating their Light the Night Walk. “It’s an opportunity for people to give, but also we celebrate the survivors and remember those that have been lost.” Sarah tells me. New Hampshire residents are encouraged to participate in the NH Light the Night Walk on Thursday, October 2nd in Nashua. This Walk is one of over 200 Walks across the country taking place September through November.

“It’s a night filled with hope,” says Sarah. People of all ages and backgrounds all walk together in support of finding a cure and spreading awareness for blood cancer. Usually around two to three miles, these walks take place at night with the walkers carrying special illuminated lanterns. “White for survivors, red for all supporters, and gold for those who have lost a loved one to blood cancer. It’s quite a sight to see.” Registration is encouraged prior to the Walk but not necessary. If you are a survivor, a patient, or if you raise over $100 for the organization you receive the special title of Champion for Cures and will receive a Light The Night t-shirt, illuminated lantern, and dinner at the Walk.

Light the Night Walks are important days for Sarah and the LLS community, but it’s also just like every other day. “Someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer every single day, and we are working to ensure that lanternsthose people and their families receive the best treatment, support and care. We know that an event like this really does shed a light on the dark world of cancer for so many people.”

More information about the upcoming Light the Night walk in Nashua, NH and other walks across the country can be found online. If you would like to learn more about the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society please visit their website.

If you have a story to share about an individual or organization that is “Doing Good” in New Hampshire, please email us at doinggood@stayworkplay.org.

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