Monday, October 17, 2016

#TNT BECAUSE - Meet Sheila Jackson

Here is our second in a series of posts leading up to the BMW Dallas Marathon. Today we are interviewing Sheila Jackson.   She has been involved with LLS since 2015 when she made a promise to herself to complete one TNT event per year.  Read on to hear why she is doing the Dallas Marathon.

1. What made you decide to run the BMW Dallas Marathon?

I started participating with Team In Training in 2015. My initial promise was to participate in one event per year.  2016, one event did not feel like enough. I completed the San Diego Rock N Roll Half Marathon in June. December's BMW Dallas Marathon is here at home and perfect fit for my second event this year.

2What does it mean to you that the BMW Dallas Marathon has been named a national event for Team In Training?
I'm thrilled this event is being included in the list of national events for Team In Training.  North Texas is my home. It's time the power of purple runners and walkers rally together to end blood cancer in Big D. 

3. What got you involved with Team In Training?

 My dear friend and Honored Hero,  Don Armstrong.

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

It's my duty. I believe GOD put us here to help one another. I am physically able to participate, raise money and share a message of hope that every step represents, helping one more person beat cancer.


5. Tell us about the team you’ve formed to run the relay with.
IDLife is a Health & Wellness Company. We put people and their long-term health first. Simply put, each one of the team members participating is committed to supporting causes that end human suffering.  Team In Training is aligned with our personal and professional mission. My team is made up of Joe, Ann Marie, Bo & Lizzy!  Together we will complete the race in December.

Did you know?
  • BMW Dallas Marathon is the longest running race in the state of Texas
  • More than 40 different bands are on the course for your entertainment
  • Stay 2 nights at the TNT hotel and you can skip expo lines and have your packet waiting in your hotel room!
  • Earn Awesome Fundraising Incentives
Join the Dallas Marathon TNT Team or join the 5 Person Relay!  150 people have already taken the challenge.  Contact Mariel Bongiovanni for more details. 

Friday, October 7, 2016

#TNTBECAUSE - Meet Kathleen Tucker

Team In Training is starting a series of blog posts leading up to the BMW Dallas Marathon. We will be interviewing current Team In Training participants to find out why they are training and fundraising for this event. First up is Kathleen Tucker. Kathleen has been involved with TNT since 2012 and raised over $35,000. Read on to hear why she is doing the Dallas Marathon.

1. What made you decide to run the BMW Dallas Marathon?

When I learned that The Dallas Marathon would be a National event I didn't want to miss out on being a part of it. What an exciting thing for North Texas! This will be my 3rd event in 2016, following the Pixie Dust Challenge and Chicago Marathon. Unfortunately, I’m currently sidelined with an injury so I’m not able to complete the Chicago Marathon this weekend but will still be traveling with the team to cheer them on.
2What does it mean to you that the BMW Dallas Marathon has been named a national event for Team In Training?

It's an opportunity to show off the awesomeness that we are here in North Texas and the passion we have in our fight against blood cancer. There are so many dedicated folks centered right in our area and it's a great network of support and I'm thrilled we get to show it off!

3. What got you involved with Team In Training?
My brother, Billy, was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in 2004 and lived less than one year after his diagnosis. He was an amazing big brother and had a huge influence on me. The year he was diagnosed I learned about Light the Night and formed a small team to walk. Billy was in treatment at the time but also came out and walked part of the course with us which made it that even more special. I had a team four more years after his death, but then took a break and ended up taking up running. After a race one time, a person at a purple tent handed me a TNT brochure and I was already familiar with LLS. I went to an information meeting shortly after and signed up for my first marathon, Rock n Roll San Diego in 2012. Since then, both my husband and I have done multiple events and have raised over $35,000 for Team in Training. Additionally, I lost my sister, Sharon, to renal cancer in 2013. Cancer has taken too much from me for me to not be involved in the fight to cure cancer so I keep going.

4. Finish this sentence, I do “TNTBecause…”
I do TNT because it helps fill the void that cancer has left in my heart.

5. Tell us about the team you’ve formed to run the relay with.
Our team consists of me, my husband-Mike Tucker, my two friends who are sisters Kayla Hughes and Amanda Wood-their father is a multiple myeloma survivor and Jonathan Eckberg-his father (Dave Eckberg) has been battling CCL for the last 14 years. We've all been impacted by blood cancers.


Did you know?
  • BMW Dallas Marathon is the longest running race in the state of Texas
  • More than 40 different bands are on the course for your entertainment
  • Stay 2 nights at the TNT hotel and you can skip expo lines and have your packet waiting in your hotel room!
  • Earn Awesome Fundraising Incentives
Join the Dallas Marathon TNT Team or join the 5 Person Relay!  150 people have already taken the challenge.  Contact Mariel Bongiovanni for more details. 

NTX Blood Cancer Conference: We Want to Know What You Think!

As September Blood Cancer Awareness Month comes to a close, we think back to two of the North Texas Chapter's largest patient-focused events: the 11th Annual North Texas Blood Cancer Conference and the Inaugural North Texas Cancer Expo.

If you attended either event, we want to know what you thought!  

Below are the links to three different 10-question surveys.
Please select the survey that applies to you.

I attended the NTX Blood Cancer Conference - General Session
I attended the NTX Blood Cancer Conference - Health Care Professional CLICK HERE
I attended the NTX Cancer Expo  CLICK HERE

Your participation in filling out this survey will help us continue to make this event one that helps patients, survivors, caregivers and healthcare professionals better equipped to handle a cancer diagnosis.

Thank you for your continued support.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Meet Kamryn: Fort Worth Light The Night Honored Hero

 Kamryn was a fourteen year old, straight-A student and competitive cheerleader when she went to see the doctor because of mono-like symptoms.  Three days later, after several blood tests, doctors returned with a diagnosis of biphenotypic leukemia: a rare leukemia where both AML & ALL cells are present.  Please read on to hear Kamryn tell her story in her own words.  Kamryn is serving as our Honored Hero for the Fort Worth Light The Night Walk.

“I was diagnosed with Biphenotypic Acute Leukemia in November of 2014. I was a very healthy, active, and normal 14 year old girl before my diagnosis. I had just started my freshman year as a straight A student at Aledo High School. My whole life was cheerleading, school, and homework.  Around Thanksgiving, I went to the Doctor for mono like symptoms. I was feeling rundown, achy, and very  fatigued. They did blood work and on Monday afternoon my mom got a call from the doctor asking me to come to Cook Children’s Hospital. The next morning I went to the hospital and got the news that I had Leukemia.  I barely knew anything about what cancer was and had never met anyone battling it. My life was completely flipped upside down with no warning.
I was admitted to the hospital immediately and had a port surgically inserted to my chest along with a bone marrow biopsy and lumbar puncture the next morning. I began chemotherapy for ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia) that night. I was in and out of the hospital for the next 6 months.  The treatment for AML is very aggressive and they hit it hard and fast for a total of 4 rounds of chemotherapy. I became very sick very fast.  After each round, it would take my immune system longer and longer to bounce back and as soon as it was safe, they would hit it again. The first round I was in the hospital for 40 straight days, spending Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's there.
Losing my hair was a very hard thing for me to deal with. While my friends were at Cowboys Stadium cheering on the Aledo Football Team to another State Championship, I was making the difficult decision to shave the remaining hair I had left.
Besides the 4 more rounds of chemo that I had to endure, I also developed Colitis which ended up with me having a feeding tube inserted surgically into my stomach. Then I suffered a life-threatening fungal infection due to my weakened immune system. This was in my calf muscle which led to a surgery where they took about 30% of my calf muscle.

It was a long, scary 9 months but my life is finally getting back to normal. I’m cancer free!  I’m tumbling again and back to focusing on school.   If it weren’t for the genetic testing advancements in the last couple of years, I would still be undergoing treatment for ALL. The chemo damaged my body and left me with “chemo brain”, a  fogginess that takes a while to go away. Gentler methods to treat cancer are needed now."

Kamryn celebrated her 16th birthday and a year in remission. She has returned to cheerleading, is a Junior at Aledo High School and is now part of the Youth Advisory Counsel at Cook Children’s. Stories like Kamryn’s are far too common and her story could have ended very differently had she not received genetic testing to determine a better treatment plan.  Advancements such as these are crucial in the hunt for cures. Your participation in the Light The Night Walk and your commitment to raise funds on behalf of LLS plays a vital role in allowing LLS to continue investing in promising research.

Monday, September 19, 2016

Travel Assistance Program: Re-Opening Today!

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's  (LLS) Susan Lang Pay-it-Forward Patient Travel Assistance program will reopen on Monday, September 19, 2016 at 12PM EST. 

LLS recently received funding specifically for pediatric patients defined as “children and adolescents 19 years of age or below at the time of application”.  The pediatric fund is limited and is expected to fill quickly.  Once these allotments are filled, patients may apply to the general fund for assistance.  

Qualifying patients can only receive travel assistance once per fiscal year.

Available Funding
General Fund – provides assistance for patients with all blood cancers
Pediatric Fund (limited) –provides assistance for children and adolescents (19 years of age or below at time of application) with all blood cancers.

Patient Eligibility
Patient eligibility criteria for travel assistance:

·         Applicants (patients) must be US citizens or permanent residents which is verified by applicant’s physical address; and
·         Applicants must have a confirmed diagnosis of blood cancer; and
·         Applicants may be insured or uninsured; and
·         Applicants must meet financial eligibility criteria defined as an annual income at or below 500% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL)  

A one-time grant of $500 is available for qualified patients per year:

·         Awards are limited to one per patient, per year; and
·         Awards are based upon a first-come first-serve basis; and
·         The program will be offered for as long as funding is available; and
·         Award is distributed via the Susan Lang Pay-it-Forward patient travel assistance credit card

Approved Travel Expenses: ground transportation, tolls, gas, parking, car rental, air transportation, lodging, and ambulance services.

Expenses NOT Covered: food, drinks and alcoholic beverages, tobacco products, automotive parts/supplies and repair, auto dealers, travel agencies, baggage fees, and international travel.

How to Apply

Patients can apply via the online portal at or by calling ourtoll free number: 844-565-2269. 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month

Looking to get involved with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) during Blood Cancer Awareness Month?  Below you will find all of the upcoming events that you can get involved with this month.  Also, several North Texas businesses and organizations have created opportunities for you to shop and give back to LLS at the same time.  Check out our retail and third party partners, please visit them and thank them for helping to create a world without blood cancers.  

Country mega star Marina McBride and friends are coming to Dallas for the Band Against Cancer - The Sarah Cannon Tour to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. The concert is scheduled for Friday, September 16th. The concert is part of a national movement to connect those facing cancer with community-based resources and support close to home. Purchase your tickets online

Mark your calendars for Giving Day 2016
Thursday, September 22, from 6 AM Central – Midnight.

North Texas Giving Day is an online giving event for people across the nation (and the world!) to come together to raise as much money as possible for North Texas nonprofits on one day: September 22, 2016.  In seven years, North Texas Giving Day has pumped more than $119 million into the North Texas community. 

A number of local businesses are selling paper balloons at the register to benefit the North Texas Light The Night campaign.  These national partners raise hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to further the LLS mission. Below is a list of the participating retailers:

Burlington Coat Factory
Great American Cookies
Marble Slab Creamery
Hot Dog on a Stick

Thursday, September 8, 2016

NTX Blood Cancer Conference: What You Need to Know

The 11th Annual North Texas Blood Cancer Conference and the Inaugural North Texas Cancer Expo are almost here!  When making your plans for this weekend, here are some things you should keep in mind:

When does registration close?
Online Registration 
Online registration for both the NTX Blood Cancer Conference and the NTX Cancer Expo closes at 11:59 p.m. on Thursday, September 8th.  Attendees can register online until then at or 
On Site Registration 
If attendees do not register online before Friday, registration will open at the NTX Blood Cancer Conference at 7:30 a.m. on Saturday, September 10th.  Registration will be open all day Saturday.

Where do I park?
There is ample parking available at the Sheraton Hotel.  Conference attendees will be responsible for paying for their own parking.  Attendees can also take public transportation to the event.  DART has a drop off location near the hotel.

How do I get my CEUs?
In order to receive the 4.0 free CEU credits from LLS, health care professionals must turn in their evaluation at the registration table AFTER the closing session.  Any evaluations completed and turned in then will not be eligible for the CEUs.  Proof of CEU credits will be emailed AFTER the conference.  Any questions should be addressed to Seetha Modi. 

Will there be any down time?
Not if you don't want there to be!  The NTX Cancer Expo has a full docket of entertainment planned on the main stage (full schedule here) as well as 50+ booths and the LLS World to visit.  

Is there a formal kick-off?
Yes!  The ribbon cutting for the NTX Cancer Expo will take place at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, September 9th.  This is open to the public and attendees will have access to all of the vendors.  Come early to avoid the crowds on Saturday!

Wait, I have more questions.Visit for additional information about the conference and what you can expect and visit for details about the expo.