Our family history. This fundraising project is very personal to me, my family and friends; I lost my mother to a T-Cell Lymphoma over a decade ago. Just over 14 years ago, my mother kept getting sick – every single cold, flu and cough imaginable for a year. It took us a year to figure out it was something more serious; then we lost even more precious months diagnosing and typing her lymphoma. We were devastated to discover that T-Cell Lymphomas can be incredibly aggressive and have a survival rate as low as 4%. My parents, both medical professionals, spent months visiting multiple cities searching for a protocol to treat her aggressive and rare lymphoma, Angioimmunoblastic T-Cell Lymphoma. In the course of her treatment, she received chemotherapy and two separate stem cell transplants. Until the end almost two years later, she never gave up fighting. Our family never gave up hope for a cure, and authorized her very well-documented medical history to be shared with others in the hope that it would shed light for researchers on a very rare, complicated cancer. Watch more in this video:
Witnessing a cure. Sometimes things in life come full circle. Last year, I finally saw real hope for a cure for my mother’s cancer. At the culmination of the 2014 LLS Man and Woman of the Year campaign, I met a little girl named Callie who had been recently treated with an LLS-funded treatment, right here in Atlanta. She was in complete remission from her T-Cell Lymphoma, with an excellent quality of life. That lifesaving experimental research protocol was directly funded by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s fundraising and grant efforts. I also had the privilege of meeting a few of the researchers at Emory who have developed these treatments like the one that she received. Their work is important but they can’t do it without funds. Traditional funding is not normally available to these researchers because of the rare nature of these cancers.
Why give to LLS? LLS funds research and clinical trials, and focuses on bench to bedside, rapidly turning cutting edge experimental protocols into treatments for real patients. Last year, the team from Georgia raised over $750,000 toward research. Local researchers at hospitals receive the funds we generate, and put them into quick action. Our dollars raised get us to real treatments for these blood cancers faster. And it’s not just fast, it’s efficient too: over 77% of each dollar raised goes directly to cutting edge, life-saving research for blood borne cancers, including rare ones like T-cell Lymphoma where little or no real treatment protocols exist.
Give today. That’s why I am honored to be leading Team Fernandez in raising funds for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s 2015 Man & Woman of the Year national fundraising campaign. Since its inception in 1990, this specific fundraising campaign has raised over $152M, contributing to over 122 grants. Each year, a team of 12-16 people in over 80 major cities raise millions of dollars from April 2 to June 13. And last year Atlanta-based team raised almost $750,000!