The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has a vision: a world without blood cancers.
Since its founding in 1949, LLS has invested nearly $1.5 billion in innovative, life-saving research and provided education and support for blood cancer patients and their families.
“Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a common form of childhood blood cancer, was a death sentence in the 1940s,” says Chris Corbitt, campaign development director for LLS. “With years of research and funding, now there is a 92% cure rate with this form of leukemia. Incredible strides have been made so far, and we are closer to a cure than ever before, but we still have work to do with many other types of blood cancers.”
LLS is making a remarkable impact in the fight against cancer around the world and right here in the Cincinnati community. But as a nonprofit, their work relies on the generosity and involvement of volunteer advocates and philanthropic supporters.
Two of the organization’s most impactful campaigns begin in early 2023: Student Visionaries of the Year, formerly Students of the Year, and Visionaries of the Year, previously known as Man and Woman of the Year.
Teens and adults from Cincinnati and beyond will once again join LLS in their vision to create a better, cancer-free world. Since the Of the Year campaigns inception in 1990, the campaigns have raised critical funds and helped bring awareness to the cause.
“These campaigns and the amazing community leaders who participate are key to strengthening the impact of our work for those facing a cancer diagnosis,” says Ashley Voss, campaign development director for Visionaries of the Year.
Leaders of Tomorrow Make a Difference Today
Student Visionaries of the Year will kick off on February 1, 2023, culminating in a finale celebrating student leaders, their schools, parents and supporters.
“The students are highly motivated leaders who work hard for us and raise an amazing amount of money to support LLS,” Corbitt says. “Their efforts are incredible. We changed the campaign name to reflect the remarkable impact that these extraordinary students have for our community. ‘Students’ did not do justice to all they do.”
Students can choose to work alone or as part of a team to raise funds for LLS. Research funding is the most critical need supported by the efforts.
LLS is leading an international collaboration to transform treatment for childhood acute leukemia. The Dare to Dream project seeks to bring targeted treatments for the toughest cancers to children worldwide.
“A lot of kids are treated with drugs designed for adults and this can have lifelong negative effects,” Corbitt says. “This is an incredible initiative to address a pressing need to bring safer, more effective treatments to kids, designed for kids.”
Participants gain the benefits of a 7-week philanthropic visionary leadership program that includes entrepreneurship, project management, leading a team and community service.
“Students get experience to help them along their professional journey, and we provide them with a letter from our CEO and a personalized letter from the campaign manager,” Corbitt says. “It can be a huge boost for their college applications.”
Awards Expanded to Recognize Efforts
For more than 30 years, Visionaries of the Year had two winners. That has changed, along with the name of the campaign, which runs from March 9 to May 19, 2023. The name change reflects LLS’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. There will now be only one winner for the top fundraiser, a runner up and several mission awards.
“We’re really excited about the change because it allows us to recognize more of our incredible supporters,” Voss says.
Those who raise $10,000 or more are eligible for the awards. Participants choose to support research, patient support and education, or policy/advocacy.
“LLS research is having a much larger impact across an array of diseases, including solid tumors, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and research funding is a priority,” Voss says.
But the other funding pillars are also critical to the ongoing care and support of patients. In 2021 alone, LLS provided $3.4 million in copay assistance for 403 patients in Greater Cincinnati and $87,500 in travel assistance to help 143 patients get to and from their treatments. Both campaigns are accepting applications and nominations.