Many of you know that my Dad was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, or AML, in September of 2007. Less than a year after his diagnosis, he succumbed to his illness. In five of the six years since (the exception being when I lived in Alaska where there is no Light the Night Walk), I’ve participated in the Light the Night fundraising walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. It always makes me feel good and like I’m doing something proactive–not only does the LLS funnel a lot of money into cutting-edge research that will hopefully someday lead to cures for these cancers, but they also have many support programs, including patient education and co-pay support, among many others.
Seventy-nine cents of every dollar donated to the LLS goes toward the mission of funding research, finding cures, and providing services for patients and their families. Since 1954, the LLS has funded over $814 million in blood cancer research, resulting in standard therapies like chemotherapy, which has been used for many other cancers. The LLS currently funds over 400 researchers the world over, and as a result, survival rates for some blood cancers have doubled or even tripled in the past few years. Since 2000, the FDA has approved 21 blood cancer drugs that came about by LLS-funded research, and of those, 12 treatments have been re-purposed for other cancers, solid tumors, and even diseases such as diabetes and Alzheimer’s.
You may have heard recently on the news about new gene therapies that are being used to treat a type of leukemia known as ALL — the LLS was instrumental in getting funding to Dr. Carl June, of the University of Pennsylvania. Here’s an article about the therapy being used by doctors at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York: http://bostonherald.com/news_opinion/local_coverage/2014/02/dana_farber_to_test_cancer_treatment
Last year my goal was to raise $5000 for the LLS through the Light the Night Walk–$1000 for every year since my Dad died. With the help of many amazing and generous supporters, I ended up raising $5,795, which was more than double my highest fundraising amount from any previous year I’ve Walked. With that total, I was the 2nd highest individual fundraiser for the Colorado Springs walk, up one place from 2012. This year, my goal is a little higher–I’d like to shoot for $6,000, in keeping with the $1,000 for each year without my dad idea. We nearly made it last year–together we can make it happen this year.
The Walk isn’t until September, but last year I discovered that starting fundraising early was a great way to go. I’ve already registered for this year’s Walk in Colorado Springs and have set up my fundraising page. If you’d like to donate to my efforts this year, I’d be forever grateful, and you’ll receive a good old-fashioned hand-written thank-you note in the mail. Who doesn’t love some snail mail love??
My fundraising page can be found here: http://pages.lightthenight.org/rm/CoSprngs14/AHarrison, and if you’d prefer to send me a check, e-mail me to get my address.
Thanks, all, for your continuing support!