Each September, during Blood Cancer Awareness Month, Burlington and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) team up to create awareness for the urgent need to fund research to advance cancer cures for the nearly 1.3 million people in the U.S. are living with, or are in remission from a blood cancer.
In its 16-year partnership with LLS, Burlington has donated more than $29 million to the organization, making it the #1 National Corporate Partner and Honored Friend of LLS. With Burlington's amazing fundraising efforts and support, LLS has helped played a role in most of the therapies used to treat blood cancer patients.
Beginning on September 17, 2017, Burlington will ask its customers to donate $1 or more at checkout. The program will continue through December 9, 2017, in all 599 Burlington stories nationwide, during LLS’s Light The Night fundraising campaign, featuring 150 walks across the country each fall. All donations support LLS’s work to fund cancer research to advance lifesaving treatments.
Joining Burlington and LLS to support the cause for the first time is singer and songwriter Jordin Sparks, an avid activist for cancer research. On September 19, she will join Burlington and LLS at the retailer’s flagship location in New York City’s Union Square, for an inspiring event to recognize four young blood cancer survivors and surprise them with a full fashion makeover and brand new fall wardrobe. These young heroes are also featured within the in-store campaign at all Burlington locations nationwide. Here are their heroic stories:
Athena/ leukemia survivor
In May 2012, my daughter, Athena’s hospital crib rolled down the halls of the hospital’s pediatric oncology floor. This would be her home for the next two months. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), and needed to receive intense treatment. Needles, chemotherapy, surgeries, and medication became our family’s new normal for more than two years.
Thankfully, there was light at the end of the tunnel. Athena is now six-years-old and living life to the fullest. She loves music and having tea parties with her big brothers. We are so grateful for the medicine and technology that helped save our little girl.
Jackson/ leukemia survivor
In many ways, my son, Jackson is a typical eight-year-old boy who loves Elmo and ice cream. But in other ways, he is anything but typical. He was born with Down syndrome and he's also a cancer survivor.
In 2010, when Jackson was just a toddler, he was diagnosed with leukemia. The diagnosis seemed insurmountable. He spent more than 150 long nights in the hospital, but his spirit and will to live is relentless. He has been off treatment and cancer free since September 2015.
Myrrah/ leukemia survivor
When Myrrah was six-years-old, she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). Her family lived in India at the time, where she received a year of intense treatment. When Myrrah’s blood work showed no signs of cancer, her family celebrated with a vacation to Europe.
Then, during a routine checkup they learned that Myrrah’s cancer had returned and the doctors said there was nothing more they could do. Desperate for hope, Myrrah and her father travelled to New York and met with LLS-funded researcher, Dr. Andrew Kung.
In 2016, after a year of treatment and a bone marrow transplant from her older brother, Myrrah’s lab work showed no sign of cancer. Today, she loves cooking and is thriving in school.
Giovanni/ lymphoma survivor
In July 2016, my son, Giovanni was diagnosed with lymphoma. For nearly a year, he went through countless surgeries, blood transfusions and various chemo cycles, but he always kept a smile on his face.
While in treatment, Giovanni’s bravery caught the attention of many, including athletes and even his hometown police department, where he was bestowed the honor of “Police Chief” for the day. He has an amazing spirit and it beams through every smile he gives. Giovani underwent surgery and in February 2017, we were told that he was in remission. We had a huge party for him.
Each survivor was styled and photographed by Burlington.
September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is increasing awareness about the urgency to find cures for blood cancers – the third most common cancer killer in the U.S. Throughout the month, our blog series will focus on the three main types of blood cancers: leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.
We spoke with Meredith Barnhart, LCSW, Director, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Information Resource Center who has extensive experience as a clinical social worker, working with individuals and families impacted by cancer.
“There are no screening tests for blood cancers; only a blood test or bone marrow test is used for diagnosis. It is important to get your annual blood work done and live a healthy and active lifestyle,” says Meredith.
She provided us with the top five facts you should know about lymphoma and what makes this blood cancer different from the rest:
1) Lymphomas are blood cancers that develop in the lymphatic system, which is part of the body's immune system.
More than 6,000 school-age children are affected by leukemia and lymphoma each year. These blood cancers account for about 40 percent of all childhood cancers. Fortunately, because of new and better therapies, blood cancer survival rates for children have improved significantly during the last several decades, allowing many of them to return to the classroom after undergoing treatment. But that experience of going back to school can be filled with fear and anxiety for both the children and their families.
Most children with cancer will attend school at least some of the time during and after their treatment. Because school is a place for learning and fun, children benefit from returning as soon as medically possible. Yet, returning to school after cancer treatment can be a tough adjustment for young survivors.
We spoke with Meredith Barnhart, LCSW, Director, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Information Resource Center, who has extensive experience as a clinical social worker, working with children and families impacted by cancer. Here’s what she had to say…
Every family living with childhood cancer is thrown into upheaval. The good news, however, is that most childhood patients can expect to have full and productive lives. Many childhood cancer survivors return to school, attend college, enter the workforce, marry and become parents. Nevertheless, being vigilant about follow-up care, being aware of long-term and late effects of treatment, helping your child return to school and even dealing with your emotions are all things you'll need to manage.
What will other kids think? Am I behind on my work? Did I miss any fun activities? Do I look different? These are just some of the many questions cancer patients have when the time comes for them to return back to school and their regular routine. For some, they can return at the beginning of the school year when fellow classmates have been away as well, but for cancer patients, this transition can be even more difficult when they return in the middle of the school year and have missed academic and social activities.
How LLS can help
LLS offers several resources that can help ease your child back to school after an absence including informative publications, DVDs, videos and programs that help explain to classmates and teachers how kids with cancer feel, why they may look different, what type of treatment they've undergone and special needs they may have on their return. All materials are available through LLS's chapters, including:
The Trish Greene Back to School Program For Children With Cancer
The Trish Greene Back to School Program offers free information and materials to parents and educators from the local chapters of LLS. The program was developed to encourage communication among parents, young patients, healthcare professionals and school personnel to assure children a smooth transition from active treatment to back to school.
Staying Connected: Facilitating the Learning Experience During and After Cancer Treatment
This educational program walks school personnel and parents through the emotional, physical, cognitive and late effects of cancer treatment that children may face, and introduces numerous resources that can help childhood cancer survivors flourish in the educational environment post-treatment. Contact your LLS chapter for more information.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Free Booklets and Videos
LLS provides free educational booklets and videos designed to help guide your child’s return to school after a cancer diagnosis.