We’ve just concluded one of the most historic years on record in terms of new therapy approvals for blood cancers. In all, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved 18 therapies to treat patients with blood cancers, including some entirely new agents and some new uses for already approved drugs.
Among these approvals were the first new therapies – four to be precise – for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) after a 40-year drought in treatment advances for this deadly blood cancer. And two revolutionary CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell immunotherapies, which reprogram the body’s own T cells to find and kill cancer cells were approved for patients with leukemia and lymphoma. I’m proud to say that The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) played a role in all but three of these advancements.
Shining light on the urgent need for blood cancer cures
Burlington Stores and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Light The Night campaign’s 16th consecutive year of partnership in the fight against blood cancers was a big success. As LLS’s #1 National Corporate Partner and Honored Friend, Burlington Stores raised $3.3 million to fund blood cancer research and help patients access lifesaving treatments and cures.
Funds were raised through a national 12-week in-store promotion from September 17 through December 9, where customers were encouraged to donate to the cause at check-out. The campaign featured young “heroes” who are blood cancer survivors. All donations are used to invest in lifesaving research and breakthrough treatments for blood cancer patients.
Timed to Blood Cancer Awareness Month in September, Burlington hosted a premier event to celebrate the campaign launch in its flagship store in New York City’s Union Square on September 19. Multi-platinum recording artist and actress, Jordin Sparks, surprised three young blood cancer survivors with an unforgettable day that included full fashion makeovers and a brand new fall wardrobe. These young heroes also were part of the in-store campaign at all Burlington Stores nationwide.
Burlington Stores and LLS believe in the power of teamwork, and have proven that each and every donation helps in the fight against blood cancer.
“Burlington is truly bringing us closer to our goal of a world without blood cancers,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, PhD, LLS president and chief executive officer. “Over the past 16 years, Burlington has raised more than $32 million to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients around the world. Their longstanding commitment to LLS is essential to making sure we continue to advance research and ensure access to treatments to help save more lives.”
Congratulations to all the Burlington associates in the more than 600 stores across the United States and in Puerto Rico, and all of their generous customers!
World Class Sailor Shares His Survivorship Story with LLS
World Class Sailor Shares His Survivorship Story with LLS
Three-time All American sailor, America’s Cup winner, award-wining ESPN commentator, author, and philanthropist, world-class sailor Gary Jobson humbly refers to himself as a “good neighbor” who’s passionate about giving back, but to everyone else he’s nothing short of an American hero. Although he’s stepping down from his role as The Leukemia Cup Regatta Chairman in 2018, his inspirational story and impact on the fight against cancer endures.
In 1993, Gary took the helm as Chairman of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) premier sailing fundraising campaign, The Leukemia Cup Regatta. More than two decades later, his contributions to the cancer arena and the sailing industry have been unsurpassable to say the least.
The Leukemia Cup Regatta, a thrilling series of sailing, powerboat and stand up paddle events that combines the joy of boating with the important task of raising money to cure cancer, has raised more than $62 million to help LLS make extraordinary progress in fighting blood cancers. Gary played a major role in spearheading the campaign’s success.
Gary recently shared a few thoughts with LLS about sailing around the world with close pal and media mogul Ted Turner, surviving blood cancer, and more...
“I started sailing as a young child, I knew it was going to be my favorite sport and it has opened up many doors of opportunity throughout my life. I’ll never forget when I met Ted Turner at a sailing event when I was 22 years old. He said to me, ‘We’ve got to sail together one of these days.’ He made a deal with me – I’d help him with his sailing, and in turn, he would help me with my business career. I thought that was a pretty good exchange. We ended up winning America’s Cup twice with his infamous boat, ‘Courageous’ and sailed all over the world together. I’ve had the opportunity to cover sailing for NBC, ESPN, and the Olympics.
I’ve won a few big events throughout my sailing career, but one of my proudest achievements is being involved with The Leukemia Cup Regatta. When you help other people out, in the end, the person who is helped out is you.
In an ironic twist of fate, in 2003, a decade after I began my association with LLS, I was diagnosed with lymphoma. I never thought that all of the funds that we had been raising to develop treatments for cancer would one day save my life. Today, it’s been 14 years since my stem cell transplant and I’m proud to say I’m cancer free.
Fighting cancer is a full-time job but I tried to never let it slow me down. One of my fondest memories during that difficult time was when I was lying in my hospital bed, and a New York Knicks replay game came on the television screen – it was a game I had attended years before I got sick. I was sitting courtside so I could actually see myself watching the game. I knew in that moment I had to get back to being that healthy again. I had to keep fighting.
I named one of my sailboats ‘Whirlwind’ because my life has been filled with a whirlwind of events. Staying thankful and keeping a positive attitude are crucial to getting through difficult times.
I’ll always hold The Leukemia Cup Regatta close to my heart. Maybe one day we will find a way to wipe out this disease. Fortunately, at this time, a cancer diagnosis doesn’t equal a death sentence. I do know that being a good neighbor during a time of need is one of the greatest satisfactions you can have in life.”
In addition to traveling to 429 Leukemia Cup Regatta events, Gary has won numerous awards including an Emmy for his production of sailing at the Olympic Games, given more than 2,000 lectures throughout the world, authored 18 sailing books, and coached at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and the U.S. Naval Academy. In October 2003, Gary was inducted into the America's Cup Hall of Fame by the Herreshoff Marine Museum.
Gary and his wife, Janice, have three grown daughters and four grandchildren. The Jobsons have lived in Annapolis, Maryland since 1977.
In photo above: Andrew Coccari (r), Chief Product Officer, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society presents Gary Jobson (l) the Vision for Life Award, an award that was established in 1998 to recognize individuals, corporations or organizations that furthered LLS's goal to create a world without blood cancer by having the vision to “look outside the box.”