Making An Impact in the Fight to Cure Cancer

With endless opportunities to be involved in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, anyone and everyone can make an impact in the fight to cure cancer. The cure for cancer begins with you!

     A community fundraising event, specifically for high school students, is the Students of the Year Campaign. Students of the Year is a philanthropic leadership development program during which students foster professional skills such as entrepreneurship, marketing, and project management in order to raise funds for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The title Student(s) of the Year is awarded to the candidate or co-candidates in each community who raises the most funds during the competition. Team member Chloe Flabiano said, “By fundraising for this campaign, I know that I am helping thousands of families across the world by using my ability to communicate with people to provide families with affordable treatment.”

     Since 2017, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has helped advance over 85% of FDA-approved blood cancer treatments. Now as the largest voluntary health organization dedicated to fighting blood cancer in the world, LLS continues to live through their mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS has been on a mission to save and improve cancer patients’ lives for over 70 years.

     “The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society was born out of a family’s grief following the death of their teenage son.” In 1944, sixteen-year-old Robert “Robbie” Roesler de Villiers passed away from leukemia. Five years later, parents Rudolph and Antoinette de Villiers founded a fundraising and education organization in their son’s name because of their frustration for the lack of effective treatments for what they considered at the time, a hopeless disease. The Robert Roesler de Villiers Foundation started off with only a few volunteers and a tiny budget in a small Wall Street Office. Even with the Villiers’ advancements, the disease still remained a stubborn challenge. By the mid-1950s, most leukemia patients, especially children, died within three months. The Foundation reported in its 1955 annual report: “As of this date, Leukemia is 100% fatal. This is almost a unique situation among the many diseases to which man is susceptible.” However, with the Villiers’ strong belief that leukemia and other blood cancers were indeed curable, the foundation grew rapidly and expanded across the New York City area. The organization was then renamed The Leukemia Society of America in the 1960s to communicate a broad, national reach.

     Today, the organization is known as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and has invested nearly $1.3 billion in groundbreaking research since 1949. In a fight to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families, LLS follows three pillars of their mission: research, access, and advocacy.

     At the forefront of the fight to cure cancer, LLS is the largest funder of research to advance cures. Through advancing breakthroughs in immunotherapy, genomics and personalized medicine, this research saves lives. LLS’s discoveries of treatments for blood cancers are also being tested in clinical trials for other cancers. Along with cutting-edge research, LLS provides patients with free blood cancer information, education, and support for patients, survivors, families and healthcare professionals. LLS ensures patients access to quality, affordable and coordinated care, while allowing patients to navigate their cancer treatment. They believe research will help achieve an end to cancer, but in the meantime, they help patients before, during and after their diagnosis and treatment. As the third pillar of LLS’s mission, LLS and their nationwide grassroots network of more than 100,000 volunteers advocate for policies at the state and federal level in commitment to remove barriers to care for cancer patients. From their Policy and Advocacy efforts, LLS has helped increase research funds, speed the review and approval process of new therapies, and ensure patients are able to access lifesaving treatments. Many of the policies that LLS advocates for, at the state and federal levels, are universally beneficial for all cancer patients.

     An Executive Team, Board of Directors, Research Oversight Committee, and Clinical Advisors make up LLS’s leadership team to ensure a continuous growth in the organization’s advancements. Anyone can be faced with cancer, both children and adults. LLS’s leadership team strives to help every patient across the nation. Although LLS has helped fund treatments, research, and patient care, they wanted to take one step further though their Children’s Initiative. With the LLS Children’s Initiative, LLS is advancing pediatric research globally, bringing together doctors, pharma, researchers, and scientists to find safer, less toxic, more effective treatments. “We’re reimagining blood cancer care for children in every aspect of our mission. Next-level pediatric blood cancer cures and care are closer than you think,” LLS states.

     However, the organization needs more voices to spread awareness and support. This is where millions of people across the world can make an impact through Students of the Year and several other fundraising events. By participating in community events, athletic events, or DIY events, anyone can help fundraise for LLS. Light the Night is one of LLS’s main fundraising community events. “I have volunteered for the Light the Night Walk through National Charity League since freshman year. It is so inspiring to be able to see and meet all the survivors and fighters of leukemia and lymphoma while participating in the walk. I am so glad I have had the opportunity to support LLS and their mission,” Isabelle Bruty ’22 said. “When you or someone you love hears the words ‘you have cancer’…It is one of the darkest moments in your life,” an informational LLS brochure states, “Light the Night’s motto ‘Bring light to the darkness of cancer’ reveals the light and warmth LLS and all who participate generate to deliver hope in a time of despair.”

     Make your impact by supporting fellow Ursuline students’ LLS Students of the Year team, We Will, co-led by Avery Zulick ’22 and Breanne Tehan ’22. Email with any questions or inquiries on how to help!

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