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Blood Cancer Survivors Find Special Meaning and Connection as Employee Champions of LLS Light the Night Events

By The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society | May 25, 2024

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is proud of our continuing partnership with Gilead and Kite Oncology as the National Presenting Sponsor of Celebration and Community at Light The Night events across the U.S. helping bring people together and raise critical funds to support patients and their families. 

Gilead and Kite Oncology employees are also proud to support LLS through Light The Night by volunteering their time at the events and serving as internal champions amongst employees, such as Caroline and Tiffany, both blood cancer survivors. 

Light The Night events occur in over 100 cities across the U.S. each fall, bringing together survivors, supporters, and individuals who have lost loved ones to blood cancer. As Light The Night’s National Presenting Sponsor of Celebration and Community, Gilead and Kite Oncology generate light and warmth to patients and their families from coast to coast. Participants carry illuminated lanterns for a memorable and moving evening. 

Walks for 2024 are well underway and open for registration here

Caroline and her spouse and two kids
Caroline hugging child

A SURVIVOR’S EXPERIENCE LEADS TO A FULFILLING CAREER 

Caroline Strohm, an Authorized Treatment Center (ATC) Onboarding Director at Kite, a Gilead Company, with a background in oncology nursing, is one of the many blood cancer survivors celebrated at Light The Night. When Caroline was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) in 2003, she worried she would miss out on her 2-year-old son's life. Today, she’s 21 years cancer-free.  

Caroline credits fundraising from events like Light The Night with helping change her life. She’s most grateful for the community she has gained: “I am forever connected to the staff in my local LLS region and find such joy in supporting the many programs, especially Light The Night, that provide patients like me with hope, community, and the potential for a world without cancer.” 

Caroline’s experience as a blood cancer survivor led her to become an oncology nurse, caring for other blood cancer patients. 

“I now have the privilege of working for Kite, which is committed to changing the lives of patients through CAR T-cell therapy. It inspires me every day, knowing that Gilead and Kite support the continued work of LLS, an organization that truly saved my life.” 

Caroline was able to attend several Light The Night events in 2023, where she spent evenings talking with patients about their experiences and remembering lost loved ones. 

“This community is unlike any other and I feel overwhelmed with gratitude that I get to be a part of it.” 

Tiffany, her spouse, and three children
Tiffany after diagnosis with blood cancer

BLOOD CANCER SURVIVOR DEDICATES LIFE TO HELPING OTHERS WITH CANCER 

On Christmas Eve in 1998, Tiffany found out she had blood cancer. She was a senior in college. Diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), she began chemotherapy on her 24th birthday.  

Now 25 years cancer-free, Tiffany is grateful for the support she received from LLS during her treatment, especially connecting with other survivors. 

“I made up my mind after my treatment that I was going to dedicate my life to helping others with cancer,” said Tiffany. She works as a Senior Cell Therapy Account Manager for Kite, a Gilead Company, supporting patients with lymphoma. 

As an employee champion for the Light the Night program, Tiffany helped staff Light The Night walks across the country in 2023. 

“Being my 25th cancer anniversary, many of my friends and family came out to the Morristown, New Jersey Light The Night walk to help me celebrate—and what a wonderful event it was!” 

The funds raised through Light The Night are used to support LLS’s mission priorities: Research, Education & Support, and Policy & Advocacy

Light The Night has something for everyone–patients, survivors, families, companies, and employees. 

To become part of the Light The Night community, visit www.lightthenight.org

Blood cancer patients and their families can contact our LLS Information Specialists, highly trained oncology social workers and nurses, who assist through treatment, financial, and social challenges at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., ET. 

About Gilead and Kite Oncology 

Gilead and Kite Oncology are changing the future of oncology. From antibody drug conjugates and small molecules to cell-therapy based approaches, our R&D programs and partnerships are creating possibilities for people with overlooked, underserved, and difficult-to-treat cancers. We are focused on helping to bring more life to people with cancer and changing the way cancer is treated.