LLS And United Food & Commercial Workers International Union Are Fighting Cancer in the Communities Where They Work and Live
United Food & Commercial Workers International Union (UFCW) is one of North America’s largest labor organizations with more than 1.3 million members and has been a powerful voice for LLS since the partnership began in 1982. UFCW has raised more than $90 million for LLS’s goal to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients.
Led by members of the UFCW, Labor Against Cancer is a movement to end the devastation of cancer through fundraising drives among members, empowering them to band together for the good of others in the communities where they work and live.
A three-year UFCW member in San Diego, California, Eva knows firsthand the urgent need for lifesaving cancer treatments. In June 2018, she knew something wasn’t right with her 17-year-old son Enrique, when he began experiencing debilitating headaches and difficulty breathing. After seeing several doctors, they learned he had acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
“Our whole world was turned upside down,” says Eva.
Enrique spent the next several months in and out of the hospital undergoing treatment and fighting for his life. But Eva never left his side, and Enrique never gave up hope.
Even after missing his entire senior year of high school, Enrique kept up with schoolwork and was able to graduate with his classmates in June 2019. Today, he is in the maintenance phase of his treatment and takes daily oral chemotherapy from home. An avid animal lover, he plans to pursue a career in agriculture and work on a farm one day.
“To anyone experiencing the devastation of cancer, you have to stay strong,” says Eva. “I’m so thankful that UFCW is helping LLS accomplish more than any other cancer nonprofit to advance research and cures for blood cancer patients, like my son Enrique.”
Because of treatment advancements that LLS helped fund, families like Eva’s are able to stay together and have second chance to pursue their dreams.
I can’t think of better partners to join us in the fight against cancer than the future nonprofit and healthcare executives of the world. Whether students, recent grads or professionals transitioning to a new career path, LLS embraces the support of volunteer interns throughout the year as we work tirelessly toward a world without blood cancer.
In honor of National Intern Day on July 25, we at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) are proud to shine a light on our dedicated and brilliant volunteer interns who are helping us beat cancer. Our interns are part of a diverse and vibrant community of LLS volunteers across the country, who give their time and talent to activities that support our mission.
It’s incredibly inspiring for me – and all of us at LLS – to see next-generation leaders in action. LLS volunteer interns are tech-savvy, creative and eager to roll up their sleeves and make a big difference in the lives of patients and families. Their unique perspectives, transferrable skills and big ideas are game changing for our organization and our quest to find cancer cures.
If you’re interning with LLS now or if you have in the past: thank you. Thank you for sharing your passion, talent and time with us. From helping our chapters with critical projects and raising funds to providing support to patients and families and advocating for policy changes at the state and federal level, our lifesaving work depends on volunteers like you joining the fold.
Volunteers touch every facet of our organization, and thanks to this partnership:
LLS has invested nearly $1.3 billion in cutting edge cancer research since 1949.
We are the leading source of free blood cancer information, education and support for patients, survivors, caregivers, families and healthcare professionals.
LLS helped pass into the law The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act, the most comprehensive federal childhood cancer legislation ever introduced.
Our progress over the past 70 years has brought us to a new era of cancer treatment and care. But to achieve our mission, we need to continue bringing together the best and brightest minds. LLS helps set up our volunteer interns for successful careers in any fields they choose, giving them practical, hands-on learning experiences, while instilling community mindedness and importantly, compassion. And compassionate, committed leaders are exactly what we need to cure cancer.
Want to give your time and talent to the fight against blood cancer? Check out the latest volunteer opportunities with LLS.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society celebrates 70-year legacy by launching new LLS Children’s Initiative, to accelerate new and better treatments for pediatric blood cancers
As an organization founded by a family for families, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is celebrating 70 years of impact on generations of families, researchers and volunteers while looking to the future by redoubling its commitment to improve treatments and care for children with cancer.
To accomplish its bold vision for children, LLS is launching The LLS Children’s Initiative to deliver cures and care for children by disrupting drug development for pediatric cancers and expanding the education and support the organization provides to children and their families.
Founded in 1949 by grieving parents after losing their 16-year-old son Robbie to leukemia, LLS is harnessing inspiration of the past to propel the organization forward in its quest to cure cancer. The LLS Children’s Initiative seeks to accelerate treatments with fewer harmful side effects, so young patients with cancer not only survive, but thrive, for generations to come.
“We are determined to change fundamentally how children with leukemias are treated,” said Gwen Nichols, M.D., LLS chief medical officer. “Children are not little adults and the ways that cancers behave in children, and how children respond to therapy are profoundly different. Further, development of new treatments for children with cancer has not kept pace with progress for adults. In fact, only four cancer therapies have been approved for first use in children over the past three decades. We must do better for children now.”
As a leading convener in the cancer arena, LLS is teaming up with industry, regulators, other advocacy organizations and major, renowned medical centers and researchers, to bring this effort to life. A vital voice the organization is bringing to the table is that of parents who have lost children to pediatric cancer. LLS has enlisted one of the most influential parent advocates in the pediatric cancer community, Julie Guillot, who lost her son Zach to one of the deadliest forms of blood cancer, acute myeloid leukemia (AML), when he was just nine years old. Guillot is working with LLS to generate alliances and support for a new master clinical trial using precision medicine for pediatric cancers, a key component of The LLS Children’s Initiative.
“It’s too late for my son Zach, who endured round after round of brutal chemotherapy treatments, radiation and bone marrow transplants over the four years he fought his AML,” said Guillot. “Ultimately the toxicity of the treatments was too much and he died at age nine. Losing Zach was unimaginably devastating to my family and me, but his struggle makes me all the more relentless about the urgency of speeding the development of better treatments. Working together we can save the lives of thousands of kids just like Zach.”
LLS is taking on children’s cancer from every direction, more than doubling its investment in pediatric cancer research, while expanding services to help children and families cope with the financial, emotional and psychological impacts of a cancer diagnosis. The organization continues to lead with innovative new clinical trial models that use next-generation genomic technologies, and plans to launch its global precision medicine master clinical trial in pediatric acute leukemia early next year.
“It will take an unprecedented collaboration to bring this global clinical trial to fruition and LLS has the track record and is the right organization to bring all the stakeholders together,” said Nichols. “Our successful Beat AML Master Clinical Trial for adults with AML, launched in 2016, shows we can get this done, and is a model we aim to replicate for children. Just like with Beat AML, LLS will be the sponsor of this trial, leveraging our unique position as a nonprofit organization who puts patients first to bring new and better therapies to patients, faster.”
Nichols added that LLS is currently setting the groundwork and convening industry leaders for this collaboration, including pediatric oncologists, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration, pharmaceutical companies, parent groups and other nonprofits to identify the underlying causes of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in these children and find or develop the right therapies to treat their disease.
Beyond the Children’s Initiative, LLS is driving forward a strategic agenda focused on the most pressing priorities in the blood cancers:
Prevention and Survivorship – Advances in next-generation genomic sequencing are leading to the first-ever discussions about halting blood cancers earlier and initiating the first-ever discussions about blood cancer prevention.
Precision Medicine and Immunotherapy – LLS pioneered the precision medicine and immunotherapy revolution, and continues to lead with innovative new clinical trial models, bringing the promise of cancer cures to more patients and their families.
Myeloma – LLS is propelling meaningful treatment advancements while raising awareness of this disease, particularly in underserved populations, including African American communities, where prevalence is twice as high as among white Americans.
Beyond Blood Cancer – LLS-funded blood cancer research has led to game changing discoveries that are now benefiting patients with other cancers and diseases.
Financial Support and Cost of Care – More than 100,000 volunteer advocates join LLS’s Office of Public Policy in working to minimize the financial toxicity of cancer.
“We have remained true to our founders’ vision and their belief that leukemia and other blood cancers were indeed curable,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS’s president and CEO. “Our 70th anniversary is an opportunity to not only reflect on the tremendous progress we have made in helping families fighting blood cancers, but to leverage our impact on generations of families, researchers and volunteers as we look to the future and work toward a world without these diseases.”
To recognize this milestone, LLS is inviting patients, caregivers, survivors, volunteers, healthcare professionals, researchers and others to join the Generation LLS storytelling initiative and inspire even more families.
Help grow the Generation LLS family tree to uplift all those touched and affected by blood cancer: www.lls.org/GenerationLLS. Upload a photo and share how you have been impacted by blood cancer or LLS's work, or what it means to be part of the generations fighting for cures. Share on your social channels using #GenerationLLS to encourage others to join you.
Julie Guillot lost her 9-year-old son, Zach, to acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2014. He was diagnosed in 2010 and received almost every therapy available for pediatric AML, but passed away following his third bone marrow transplant. Today, Julie is a volunteer working on LLS’s Children’s Initiative with the hope that other moms do not have to experience what she did. Watch video.
In 2015, Abby Breyfogle’s twin daughters, Kenedi and Kendal were diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at three months old. After enduring 17 months of intense treatment, Kendal died in September 2017. One week later, Kenedi celebrated two years in remission. The Breyfogle family continues to fight blood cancer in honor of Kendal. Watch video.