The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) today announced Anita Brikman and Chris Pontius will serve as honorary co-chairs for the 2012 Pennies For Patient Program. D.C. United midfielder Pontius joins Brikman, WUSA9 Anchor & health reporter, to raise awareness for the program and blood cancer patients and their families. Brikman is in her fourth year as co-chair for this campaign, and Pontius joins her with a passion for the mission, having seen his own father battle and beat leukemia in 2002.
Each year school children in the greater Washington, D.C. metro area collect spare change in hopes that they can help a group of honored students. These honored students represent the one million patients and families who are affected by blood cancers in North America.
2012 Honored Students
Delaney O'Hagen - Diagnosed originally in 2001 with leukemia, Delaney underwent two-and-a-half grueling years of chemotherapy treatments before being declared cancer free. However, just four years later her family learned that her cancer had returned. Delany received a life-saving bone marrow transplant from her brother in 2009 and is now cancer free, though she is battling the after-effects of her treatments.
Gabriel Rodriguez- Diagnosed with leukemia when he was just one-and-a-half years old, Gabriel complained of leg pain and discomfort when walking and running, before being admitted to Children's National Medical Center in January of 2007. Gabriel completed his chemotherapy treatment after three years, just in time to start kindergarten with his peers.
Ryan Darby - In December of 2009 while most families were gathering for the holidays, Ryan and his family found out that he had leukemia. Ryan immediately began treatment at Georgetown University Hospital and is currently in remission. Ryan is looking forward to his official off-chemotherapy celebration in 2013, but in the mean time is enjoying playing with his two brothers and being an advocate for blood cancer awareness.
Julianna Nicholson - Currently undergoing treatment for leukemia, Julianna was diagnosed this past April and immediately admitted to Inova Fairfax Hospital for treatment. Just five years old, Julianna is a strong little girl who is determined to beat blood cancer. She is excited to be a first grader in Woodbridge, VA.
The 2011 Pennies For Patients Program raised more than $700,000 for blood cancer research and patient services. For more information, or to sign your school up to make a difference, visit www.schoolandyouth.org/nca or call (703) 399-2943.