Some of you may not know, but last January my father was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). After a round of chemotherapy, we were cautiously optimistic, and by April he when into remission. Unfortunately the cancer returned, leading to a second round of chemotherapy, which was very difficult as the AML left his body prone to infections. Being weak from treatments, he ultimately lost his fight on September 10th.
Many of you who knew my father probably remember what a strong and prideful, yet sensitive man he was. He had the kindest heart, and I’m very thankful to have spent his last months and final moments by his side. No matter how old I am, I will always be his “little girl”.
In honor of my father and mother – who we also lost to cancer – I have accepted a nomination as The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year. This year, 20 men and women will compete to raise money that will not only fund research, but also provide assistance to families battling leukemia and other blood cancers. I am honored to be a nominee, and to break all fundraising records, have set our team’s goal to $200,000. This campaign begins April 5th, and continues through June 16th.
Funds raised really make a difference, but we still have a long way to go…
- Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under the age of 20. Lymphomas are the most common blood cancers and incidences increases with age. The survival rate for myeloma is only 41.1 percent.
- An estimated 1,012,533 Americans are currently living with blood cancers.
- One person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer approximately every four minutes.
- An estimated total of 140,310 people in the United States will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma in 2011.
These facts are very real, but we are not helpless. The National Capital Area chapter has dedicated this year’s campaign to two young survivors – Isaac Duck, an energetic 6-year-old who was diagnosed with Large B-cell Lymphoma in 2009, that after chemotherapy and surgery to remove his tumor, is now living a normal and healthy life; and Sophia Becraft, an active 5-year-old girl who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) who immediately underwent treatment and miraculously went right into remission.
Cure rates for some forms of childhood leukemia have risen from 4% in 1960 to nearly 87% today. However, incidences of lymphoma are on the rise, and leukemia is still one of the leading killers of children in our country.
I am asking for your support in the fight against blood cancers by making a personal donation to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
While my parents are no longer here, the Woman of the Year campaign is an opportunity for me to help others and to give back to an organization that has already invested more than $814 million in research aimed at helping all blood cancer patients live better, longer lives. But personally, to honor the two people that shaped my inquisitiveness and spirit. Whether it was my father teaching me a Thai dish, or my mom teaching me how to parallel park, these memories will always bring a smile to my face.
Thank you so much for your support and love!