Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Meet Makenna: Links Fore Leukemia Honored Hero

The Links Fore Leukemia Golf Tournament presented by Venari Resources is a day of great golf, competition and camaraderie.  Most importantly, the tournament exists to help fund The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's relentless drive to find cures for blood cancers.

Ten-year-old Makenna has agreed to serve as the 2017 Honored Hero.  She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) just days before her 8th birthday.  Doctors quickly learned she had a mutation that made her leukemia more difficult to treat.  She faced 10 different types of chemotherapy, 25 spinal taps, and countless needle pokes.  After 10 months of intense chemotherapy treatment, she is in remission!  Although she continues to receive monthly maintenance chemo through her port, as well as daily chemo pills at home, she is thankful to be back in school and participating in the activities that she loves.

Since her diagnosis, Makenna has embraced her diagnosis and the opportunity to educate other children about leukemia and why it's important to fund research.  As Makenna likes to say, she looks forward to a time when "they can give you a shot to prevent leukemia from ever happening!"
We are inspired by her strong spirit and fierce determination not to let her leukemia diagnosis stop her from enjoying childhood.

Three Ways to Get Involved:
Inspired by Makenna's story to get involved?  Here are three ways you can get involved with the tournament today:
1. Register yourself and your foursome to play in the tournament.
2. Purchase a group of golf balls for the Helicopter Ball Drop presented by Elbit Systems of America
3. Share this post with somebody who would be interested in golfing with us.

Save the Date:
Monday, June 26th
TPC Four Seasons Las Colinas

Friday, May 5, 2017

Introducing Marla Wilson

The North Texas Chapter is proud to introduce you to Marla Wilson, the newest member of the chapter's leadership team.  Marla is the Senior Director responsible for the Light The Night Walk and the Saint Valentine's Day Luncheon & Fashion Show.  She comes to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) with extensive nonprofit experience.  Below she answered a couple questions about herself:

Tell us about your previous nonprofit experience. 
I come to LLS from Honey Shine, Inc. where I served as the National Executive Vice President.  Honey Shine, Inc. is a mentoring and educational program for school-age girls, based in Miami, FL.  Before Honey Shine, I served as a Senior Director with the American Heart Association's Go Red for Women Campaign, and the Executive Director for the March of Dimes.   I am also the founder of the 1 Percent Circle, an exclusive consulting group that matches high profile clients with mission-related initiatives.

I attribute my passion for service to my parents who taught me the importance of being a positive contributing citizen.

What drew you to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society? 
The LLS mission and research success driven by this organization are very important to me.  I also have a couple personal connections to blood cancers.  I have a family member currently battling acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and another family member in treatment for lymphoma.

What have you learned about LLS supporters in North Texas during your brief time with LLS?
I have been very pleased to discover that North Texas supporters are very passionate and highly educated on the importance of philanthropy and volunteer leadership.

What are you most looking forward to with the Light The Night Walk? 
I am coming into Light The Night at a very exciting time.  The Dallas and Fort Worth Walks are both adding some really impactful new features to the Walk experience and both are on the brink of explosive growth.  I am happy to be here for both.

What are you most looking forward to with the Saint Valentine’s Day Luncheon & Fashion Show? 
I am looking forward to expanding the exciting possibilities that will bridge generational philanthropy from traditional donors to young professionals.

Marla is the proud mother of twins, Malik and Mijani, both of whom are currently in college in Texas.

If you would like to personally welcome Marla to North Texas, she can be reached via email at or phone at (972) 996-5919.

Welcome to North Texas, Marla!

Monday, May 1, 2017

How to Support Man & Woman of the Year Candidates

The Dallas and Fort Worth Man & Woman of the Year campaign is in full swing!  Are you looking to find ways to support the candidates and their fundraising efforts?  You've come to the right place. 

 Below is a full list of the events the candidates have organized to benefit their fundraising efforts. 

Shop for a Cause at St. John
Hosted by: Dean Driver, Dallas
Highland Park Village
Wednesday, May 3rd
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
10% of proceeds will benefit LLS

Private Cooking Class with Wine & Chocolate Pairing
Featuring chefs: Jon Bonnell and Kevin Wenzel
Hosted by: Sheila Jackson, Fort Worth
Central Market – Fort Worth
Wednesday, May 3rd
6:30-9:00 pm
4651 West Freeway, Fort Worth, TX 76107
RSVP: Online

Celebrity Bartending Event
Hosted by: Michael Crain, Fort Worth
Thursday, May 4th
5:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.
777 Main Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102
Hosted by: Kimberly Alexander, Dallas
Highland Park Village
Thursday, May 4th
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
10% of proceeds will benefit LLS

Shop for Mom at Feathers
Hosted by: Sheila Jackson, Fort Worth
2621 Whitmore Street, Fort Worth, TX 76107
Thursday, May 11th
10:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Portion of proceeds will benefit LLS

Sip and Shop at J. McLaughlin
Hosted by: Sheila Jackson, Fort Worth
J. McLaughlin
Thursday, May 11th
10:00 a.m.- 6:00 p.m.
1612 S. University Drive, Fort Worth, TX 76107
15% of proceeds will benefit LLS

Gogo in a Tutu
Hosted by: Dr. Ken Heym, Fort Worth
Friday, May 12th
6:30 p.m.
3236 W. 7th St.  Fort Worth, TX
100% of class fee will benefit LLS

Kendra Gives Back Party
Hosted by: Darryl Ferguson, Dallas
Kendra Scott at Watters Creek
Monday, May 15th
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
20% of proceeds will benefit LLS

Shop for a Cause
Hosted by: Dean Driver, Dallas
Hublot Dallas Boutique
8687 N. Central Expressway, Ste. 1332
Thursday, May 18th
6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
10% of proceeds will benefit LLS

Celebrity Bartending Event
Hosted by: Sheila Jackson, Fort Worth
Thursday, May 18th
5:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m.
777 Main Street, Fort Worth, TX 76102 

Painting With a Twist
Hosted by: Laura Norton, Dallas
Painting With a Twist, Lewisville
Sunday, May 21st
3:00 p.m - 5:00 p.m.
RSVP: Online

One Drop of Love
Hosted by: Daryl Wallace, Dallas
Perry's Steak House & Grill

2000 McKinney Ave.
Monday, May 22nd
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

An Evening with Rolando Diaz
Hosted by: Rolando Diaz, Dallas
South Side on Lamar
Thursday, May 25th
6:30 p.m.

Fort Worth MWOY Grand Finale Gala
Hosted by: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Fort Worth Convention Center
Saturday, May 20th
6:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.

We Got the Jazz & the BBQ
Hosted by: Dr. Larry Anderson
Mayfaire Turtle Creek Sky Club
Tuesday, May 30th
6:30 p.m.

An Evening with Rolando Diaz
Hosted by: Mr. & Mrs. Bill Taylor
Ritz Carlton Hotel
Sunday, June 4th
6:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Hosted by: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Ritz Carlton Hotel
Saturday, June 17th
6:00 p.m. - 11:30 p.m.

If you would like to learn more about any of these events, please contact Emile Blaine at or (972) 996-5932.

Best of luck to all of the candidates!

Friday, April 21, 2017

Student of the Year Winner Stephen McCarty Raises $51,250

The Grand Finale Gala for the North Texas Student of the Year campaign was held last Friday night at the Renaissance Hotel in Dallas.  A group of six dedicated and driven local high school students raised more than $61,996 in six weeks!
Stephen McCarty, a student at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, raised more than $51,250 and was named the 2017 North Texas Student of the Year.  He jumped at the opportunity to participate in the program because his father is currently undergoing treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML), one of the deadliest types of leukemia.  Stephen said he fundraised because he knows first-hand the impact a cancer diagnosis can have on a family.  Stephen used social media pages like Caring Bridge to help generate awareness of his campaign.  He sent fundraising letters to all of his family and friends and hosted several fun events at local venues in the Fort Worth area.  His Luau for Leukemia night and his Bingo night brought in over $3,500 for his campaign.

The success, creativity and ingenuity of the Student of the Year candidates far surpassed all expectations of the North Texas staff and Board of Trustees members.  Thank you to all of the students who participated!

Recruitment is already underway for the 2018 Student of the Year campaign.  High school sophomores, juniors and seniors are eligible to raise money for LLS and win college scholarships.  Learn more about the campaign here or contact Jessica Buckman.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

North Texas Cancer Expo: Keynote Speaker Announced

Lila Javan
Two-Time Cancer Survivor & Founder of Climb 2 Cure

The North Texas Chapter is honored to introduce Lila Javan as the keynote speaker for the 2017 North Texas Blood Cancer Conference.  Lila Javan is a two time cancer survivor and filmmaker who has photographed award-winning features, commercials, documentaries and short films. She is also the founder of Climb2Cure, a new LLS fundraising campaign.

Let's take a minute to meet Lila.

"My name is Lila Javan. In 2010, my life was turned upside down when I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia (AML). I was told that my only chance for survival was a stem cell/bone marrow transplant. I had a bone marrow transplant that fall – my sister was my donor – and after a year in turmoil, I recovered and rebuilt my life as a cancer survivor.

In 2014, my next adventure was to be a solo trip to Africa to climb Kilimanjaro. The very week that I was booking my flights, I discovered that my cancer was back. In September of 2014, after another summer of chemo, I had a second transplant. This time it was stem cells from an unrelated donor.

While I was in the hospital, a friend took a window frame and placed a beautiful photograph of Kilimanjaro in it. He hung this on my wall opposite my bed. Throughout my treatment, I would
stare at that window and visualized myself climbing the mountain. My doctors and nurses all asked about the picture and I would tell them about my magical trip. An amazing thing happened - my solo trip became a group trip. Now, a group of 14 doctors, nurses, therapists and friends all wanted to journey with me to climb the highest peak in Africa.

I reached out to LLS to see if we could do the trek as a fundraiser for them, and "Climb2Cure" was born.  My solo climb evolved into a new Team In Training fundraising platform for LLS that will continue for years to come and expand to other mountain tops." 

 Lila's team raised an astonishing $133,000 for their climb.  She is turning her journey into a documentary film and already has her sights set on a new climb: Mount Everest.  Lila and her oncologist were interviewed after their climb for this NBC segment.

* * * *

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear Lila Javan speak by registering today for the FREE North Texas Cancer Expo that will be held on Saturday, September 16th at the Omni Hotel in Dallas. 

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Meet the Fort Worth Boy & Girl of the Year

The Fort Worth Man & Woman of the Year campaign is off to a strong start.  The six candidates are raising funds in honor of Katie Thomson and Jaden Lowery, our Boy and Girl of the Year.  The Boy & Girl of the Year are local blood cancer survivors who represent thousands of children and adults who are fighting blood cancers every day. 

Meet Katie Thomson

On January 24, 2015, when she was 10 years old, Katherine (Katie) was diagnosed with High Risk B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. When her cancer did not go into remission after the first round of chemo, Katie’s diagnosis was changed from “High Risk” to “Very High Risk”. With the new diagnosis came a new treatment plan, and Katie learned that she would need to receive a bone marrow transplant. Katie spent 10 weeks on the hematology/oncology floor at Cook Children’s and another 4 weeks in the Bone Marrow Unit. She received her transplant on April 22, 2015 and is doing very well! She enjoys all types of art projects, dancing, spending time with family and cuddling with her dog, Dolly.

Meet Jaden Lowery
Jaden, is a courageous 7 year old that fought cancer like a warrior! Jaden was 6 years old, and five weeks into his first grade year at a new school, when he was diagnosed with B Cell Lymphoma. Everywhere he goes, he somehow manages to touch the heart of others. He adores his little sister, Cameron (1 year old), and thrives to teach her everything he knows. Today, he has monthly doctor visits consisting of blood draws and physical exams by his hematologist. He still enjoys church, karate, soccer, and going to school. His favorite subject is math. Jaden wants to be a surgeon when he grows up to help other children. Jaden's parents say that they are extremely blessed and extremely thankful for the wonderful physicians and staff at Cooks Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth Texas.

* * * *
The Fort Worth MWOY campaign is running alongside the Dallas MWOY campaign.  The Grand Finale Gala will be help on Saturday , May 20th at the Fort Worth Convention Center in the main ballroom. Tickets are now available for purchase.

We wish all of the candidates the best of luck!

Friday, April 14, 2017

#TNTBECAUSE: Meet Jim Hogan

We are continuing our series on the blog with interviewing current Team In Training (TNT) participants. Today we are chatting with Jim Hogan of Fort Worth.  He is an avid runner who has completed several marathons, ultra-marathons and triathlons. Jim has been involved with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) since 2009 where he currently serves on our North Texas Board of Directors, the Links for Leukemia Golf Tournament committee and is an active participant in the Light The Night Campaign.  Jim is currently training with Team In Training for the 2017 Boston Marathon and will be one of only two TNT participants representing Texas!

1. What made you decide to run Boston Marathon?

As an aging “injury prone” marathon runner, The Boston Marathon is the most prestigious marathon you can participate in.  I lost my mother to brain cancer last year and that inspired me to really start training again so that I could complete this final run, and what a marathon to end on! 

Jim's mom, Judy Hogan

2. What does it mean to you that you secured one of the coveted spots for this race?

As a runner it’s achieving Mt Everest! I am honored and blessed to be able to participate in one of the world’s greatest sporting events.  It’s very hard to be able to put into words how it feels knowing that in a few weeks I will be able to say that I am a Boston Marathon finisher.  I have come close to qualifying several times so knowing that it’s actually happening is quite surreal.  To top it all off I not only get to check off one from the bucket list, but get to do it representing a cause that I have been a part of for 8 years. I am so honored to get to run and represent LLS and TNT.

3. What got you involved with Team In Training?

I was introduced to TNT through work associates.  Being a runner for many years I really enjoyed the idea of being a part of a team and running for a cause.

Jim running the Rock 'n' Roll San Antonio Marathon

4. Finish this sentence, I do “TNTBecause…”

I do TNT because others are not able to. And what I mean by that is as I got more involved with LLS we get the opportunity to visit hospitals and meet children and parents who are affected by blood cancers.  I run for them!

5. Anything else interesting that you would like to tell us?

I have 3 awesome boys who keep me insanely busy.  I am surrounded by family and a great group friends who support me in all of my endeavors and craziness.  I am a very lucky man!

Jim's sons

It's not too late to join Jim and the TEAM this season.  Register for an event today.