March To A Million

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Join us in helping our National Team Salesforce.com in their March To A Million this year!

In 2015 Salesforce raised an amazing $563,763 making them the #5 National Light The Night Team overall. Their team goal for 2016 is to raise $1,000,000 and if the team hits their goal, their CEO Marc Benioff, will personally match this amount making their total fundraising efforts 2 MILLION dollars which could potentially make them the #2  National Light The Night Team.

Please watch this amazing video from Salesforce.com – Click Here

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Light The Night Walk funds  life-saving research and support for people battling cancer.  Friends, families and co-workers form fundraising teams and millions of consumers help by donating at retail outlets.  These efforts culminate in inspirational, memorable evening walks in nearly two hundred communities each fall across North America.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) funded research aims at helping all blood cancer patients live longer, healthier lives.  We will continue to support research through our  innovative and integrated funding programs, until every patient has a safe and effective  therapy.  Currently LLS:

  • Supports research programs in the U.S., Canada, and seven   other countries.
  • Provides services including family support groups, free seminars, direct patient financial aid and co-pay assistance.
  • Educates through our Information Resource Center.
  • Advocates to policy makers at all levels of government.

Come Join Us at our Light The Night Walks this year!  Register Here

 

The Inspiration Initiative – Jessica Moran, 2016 Honored Hero

Please meet one of our Honored Heroes of the 2016 Boston Light The Night! This is Jessica Moran. She is a true inspiration. There isn’t much that I could write in this week’s blog about Jessica that she hasn’t already said, photographed and lived. Please go to her blog, Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube and see just how strong, beautiful and amazing Ms. Moran is!

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Blog: https://inspirationinitiative.com/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/inspirationinitiative
Twitter: https://twitter.com/jessy_moran

 

And last but certainly not least…You must click on her YouTube and watch her videos!
This was specifically for an Applebee’s fundraiser…
https://youtu.be/0ttf1bRKgJk

 

Keep on moving forward Jessica and we at the Massachusetts Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society cannot wait to see you in Boston!!

My Story: Raising Awareness for CHAIR-ity

Untitled Chair 4Like most people that stand for a cause, I lost a close friend to ALL in 1997. After Doug’s death, I silently promised him I would do something in his name.

Let’s fast forward to 2011. There was an article in the local newspaper, here in Dubai about a young girl needing a matching donor. No one in her family was a match so they were reaching out to the public looking for that perfect person. The article went on to say that out of the 15.5 million registered donors only 45 were from this region. I was astonished after reading those stats. I thought WOW, someone should really do something about this. I quickly realized I was THAT person. I spent the next couple of months designing a creative project that would reach the masses.

Being a professional photographer, I knew I would use the tools I know best, photography. For the project to be successful it had to be different and stand out. Everyone is shooting with digital cameras, so I decided to shoot with film. Everyone loves polaroids!

Some people jog or run or play polo for a cause. I’m using photography and art which gives us a fun and positive platform to discuss the issues that need to be discussed.

Usually when people first meet the red chair, they first react with curiosity, which then turns into creativity. The only rule I have during photo shoots is that people not look directly at the camera. After that, they decide for themselves how they want to pose or not pose with the chair. No two photo shoots are alike.

Every time I photograph someone with it, I ask them to sign it. Signing the chair represents sharing the project and cause with friends, family and colleagues. The story of the chair grows with each portrait I take. The chair is beginning to take on its own identity with all of these great signatures on it.

The red chair serves as a consistent visual element that helps to tie the photos together. Every time I take it out for a photo session, it immediately attracts attention, which is what I want to have happen. The chair carries a message of enlightenment and hope.

You can find more information about The Untitled Chair Project on the following social media sites:

www.TheUntitledChairProject.blogspot.com

www.instagram.com/the_untitled_chair_project

www.facebook.com/theuntitledchairproject

– Written by Sean B.; Professional photgrapher living in Dubai, raising awareness for this incredible cause.

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Introducing Taylor Carol- 2014 Boston Honored Hero

ImageDo you remember life as an 11 year old? When time was measured not by clocks on a wall, but by the rising and setting of the sun. Long days spent with your best friends playing sports, going to school, and ultimately not having a care in the world. Sadly for countless children across the United States diagnosed with a blood cancer, being 11 years old means something completely different. This is a fact that Taylor Carol, the 2014 Boston Light The Night Walk Honored Hero, is all too familiar with. The simple act of stepping into a batter’s box and getting hit by a pitch changed this carefree kid’s life forever. But here’s the incredible thing, no matter how cancer may change you physically, it does not have to change your heart and spirit. From his initial diagnosis of ALL with Philadelphia Chromosome as an 11 year old, to the day he was cured, all the way to his freshman year at Harvard University, Taylor’s story is a testament to the unbreakable spirit of a young man determined to not let cancer change his outlook on life.

Check out Taylor’s story on our website and keep an eye out for updates from our other incredible Honored Heroes in Nashua, Wakefield, Worcester, and York!

Life after cancer, a childhood cancer survivor looks back at growing up with stomach aches

Sally Ekus

Twenty five years ago I was sitting in my bedroom playing doctor with my dolls. My grandmother, who was babysitting me that day, overheard me say to my dolls that they had to take their pills or they were going to die.

At the time I was going through intensive chemotherapy for my ALL diagnosis. The treatment was so rough on my little body that the doctors decided to give me a break and take me off all meds. Apparently my unconscious mind was scared by this and in my pretend play with my dolls it came through. My grandma told my parents what she heard and they immediately began giving me a children’s multivitamin each morning so I would have a pill to swallow. I was so young; I didn’t know the difference between a vitamin and prednisone.

Fast forward to this past August when I celebrated 25 years cancer free.  For all intents and purposes I consider myself really healthy. This past October I completed my 3rd Team in Training endurance event. It is hard to believe that the same little body that was too weak to walk upstairs all those years ago has completed full marathons! Even more shocking is how much I thought I hated running.

Growing up I led a fairly normal life–considering. Once I was declared cured the doctors sent me on my way. I played sports, JV but still. I went out with my friends, and I went off to college. But when I got to college, stomach aches I had suffered my whole life rapidly got worse. The pain was so debilitating that at times I couldn’t walk to class and often in the morning I would get sick to my stomach.

Because of my medical history I had all kinds of tests done. Blood panels, full work ups, ultrasounds, and even a colonoscopy. I was barely twenty years old and had a colonoscopy, not fun! But every doctor I saw said I was fine. I started to question if it was all in my head; if the pain I was feeling wasn’t as bad as I thought.

Back when I was in treatment, there were few, if any, studies or even conversations happening around the long-term effects of chemo. How I was I supposed to know that the severe stomach aches I had all my life could be linked to the chemo my 4 year old body endured? It seems so obvious now, but 25 years ago all that mattered was that the cancer was gone.

It turns out that I have severe food intolerances and my body can’t digest many common foods. So far there is no way to know for sure that chemo directly caused these intolerances, but I wonder if anyone else out there has experienced something similar after going through intensive chemotherapy?

The list of the foods I must avoid is really specific in that I must avoid gluten, any dairy that comes from a cow (that means cream, milk, butter…you know the good stuff). I also cannot eat any chicken eggs, and I have to avoid all mustard. I mean who has a mustard allergy!?

As I have uncovered the foods to avoid, I have been tested for hundreds of food reactions.  It turns out my gut is really damaged and I had a reaction to every single food on the allergy panel. I remember getting the results and the nutritionist saying “Wow, no one has ever had even a low level reaction to every food” as if I had won some prize. It turns out recurring pain I have battled for what seems like my whole life may all be linked back to the same drugs that saved my life.

Believe me; I know how lucky I am to be alive. But the long-term effects of those toxic drugs need to be addressed. It is one of the many reasons I raise money for LLS. Funding research for life saving drugs is incredibly important, and so is funding research for long-term effects of drug treatments. Donor funding, Light the Night walks, Team in Training, Man and Woman of the Year and other campaigns from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society are why I am alive today.

The quality of life after cancer is improving by the day. If you had asked me even 5 years ago if I would be writing about my food intolerances on the LLS Light the Night blog I would have said no.

I was focused on looking forward, trying to find new doctors who specialize in food intolerances, allergies, gut health. I didn’t think anyone noticed, cared, or that it even mattered what happens after you get the cured card.  It never occurred to me to look back, to request my medical files and start back at the beginning. But with the research improving the survival rates, quality of life and investments in less toxic therapies are more important than ever.

I still don’t know if I will be able to have children. I still don’t know exactly how to heal my body from the inside out. But I do know how lucky I am to have incredible care, doctors, and support. I know that the money we raise together is why the children going through treatment today, will be able to live happy and healthy lives tomorrow.

Thank you for listening to part of my story. Feel free to follow me on Twitter or Instagram for some creative recipe ideas.

 -Written by Sally Ekus. ALL survivor, Team In Training (TNT) alumni, Light The Night volunteer, and Society Connection co-chair.