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Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Fighting Blood Cancers

by Peter West

Photo by Cancer Type

More than 138,000 Americans will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma this year. For many, a trusted source of information and support will be The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (also known as LLS), headquartered in White Plains, NY, with 68 chapters in the United States and Canada, is a voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services.

LLS offers free educational materials and services for people with blood cancer and their families – from booklets, Webcasts, and telephone education programs to professionally led Family Support Groups, one-to-one support, and helpful financial aid programs.

“LLS is there for patients and their families, from the first days of diagnosis, through treatment and survivorship,” says Hildy Dillon, senior vice president of patient services.

A Long and Helpful History
LLS was born out of a New York family’s grief following the death of their teenage son. In 1949, frustrated by the lack of effective treatments for what was then considered a hopeless disease, parents Rudolph and Antoinette de Villiers started a fundraising and education organization in their son’s name. The foundation grew steadily, changing its name to The Leukemia Society of America in the 1960s and then The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in 2000.

Increased funding from generous donors meant that LLS was able to identify promising young researchers and help support their work. With the help of major fund raising campaigns, including Team In Training®, a charity sports training program, and Light The Night® Walk, LLS has supported more than $600 million in blood cancer research since 1949. Major programs include the Specialized Center of Research and the Therapy Acceleration Program.

The commitment to cutting-edge science has contributed to an unprecedented rise in survival rates for some blood cancers. The relative five-year survival rate for people with leukemia, for example, nearly quadrupled in the past 50 years. Hodgkin lymphoma is now considered one of the most curable forms of cancer, thanks to radiation, chemotherapy, or a combination of the two.

For more information, visit,contact a local chapter, or speak with an information specialist at LLS's national Information Resource Center by calling (800) 955-4572.

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This article was published in Coping® with Cancer magazine, January/February 2009.