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Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Hurricane Harvey Disaster - Grant for Blood Cancer Patients

Patient Access Manager, Dawn Guerrero, speaks about recent events in Texas.

The past two weeks have been especially tough for Texans. Hurricane Harvey has left many of our neighbors without a home or unable to return home.  I’ve seen reports of families stuck on the second floor of their homes, or those that have lost their normal transportation because of flooding.  When we add the pain and trauma of battling blood cancer, I can only imagine the stresses of trying to get to a doctor’s appointment or losing that life supporting medicine.  I’m proud to let you know that LLS is here for you.  This announcement was released today:

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) joins the nation and the world in concern for those affected by the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey, and we extend our condolences to the families of those lost in this natural disaster. We recognize that many of the individuals and families impacted in Texas and Louisiana are blood cancer patients and their families, and that many have been displaced from their homes, are unable to reach their physician or treatment center, or have lost their medications due to the flooding.

In response to the Hurricane Harvey disaster, LLS, as a patients first organization, is committing up to $1 million to provide direct support to blood cancer patients in impacted communities to help with travel to treatment centers and doctor appointments, to replace medications lost due to storm damage, and other needs directly related to the hurricane.  Eligible blood cancer patients who live in declared disaster areas will receive $500. Patients must be in active treatment, scheduled to begin treatment or are being monitored by their doctor.

If you are or know someone that was affected, please visit this site to see if you qualify for this new grant:  http://www.lls.org/hurricane-harvey-relief

The application process is online and is now active.  Additionally, please encourage patients and families to call our Blood Cancer Information Specialists at 800-955-4572 for information and support.
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Dawn Guerrero is the Patient Access Manager of the North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and author of this monthly blog series.  She has a Masters in Business Administration and has experience working with varied aspects of the healthcare industry. 

Contact Dawn:
Dawn.Guerrero@lls.org 
972-996-5905

Thursday, August 17, 2017

New Patient Services Access Manager




We are excited to introduce the new North Texas Patient Access Manager. Dawn Guerrero comes to LLS after recently completing her Masters in Business Administration degree at the local Argosy University campus here in Dallas. She has experience with multiple non profits including the Red Cross in Virginia.  Dawn will be working directly with all of our patients. She took a few minutes to answer a few questions so we can all meet her.

1. Tell us about your nonprofit background.  
For seven years I worked with the American Red Cross in Virginia running the regional stem cell donor program.  There we educated and recruited donors and then facilitated the donation process when a match was found.

2. What attracted you to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society?

When I saw the opening for Patient Access Manager, I knew it was the perfect fit for my skills and interests.  Now I can impact more lives by supporting patients directly.  
 

3. Tell us about your history in working with patients and the cancer industry.

My past experience was on the donor side of the transplant world.  My center facilitated both bone marrow transplants and peripheral blood cell transplants.  My center was one of the first centers to perform an allogeneic PBSC donation through the National Marrow Donor Program.
4. What are you most looking forward to with interacting with the North Texas Community?
Impacting lives and making sure the services that are needed in the community are readily available. 

5. What do you want people to know about you?

I grew up an avid soccer player and even played on a German women’s professional team when I was younger.  I continue my obsession with sports by now watching soccer, football, hockey and tennis as a fan. After tearing my ACL I decided to switch to a tamer sport, tennis, in order to stay active.

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Dawn Guerrero is the Patient Access Manager of the North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and author of this monthly blog series.  She has a Masters in Business Administration and has experience working with varied aspects of the healthcare industry. 

Contact Dawn:
Dawn.Guerrero@lls.org 
972-996-5905

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Dallas Light The Night Honored Hero: Brennen Lyons

The Light The Night Walk (LTN) to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) celebrates participants in all stages of a cancer battle - patients, survivors, caregivers, friends and family.  Each year the LTN team selects a couple honored heroes for each walk site to serve as inspiration.



Brennen Lyons is one of the 2017 honored heroes for the Dallas Walk.  As you read his story, told by his mother, you will see why he was chosen for this honor.  He is such a strong little boy.

Brennen was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at the age of 2.

His mother tells his story in her own words.

"Just the word “Leukemia” was scary to me at the time.  I had no idea everything that went along with it and the journey we were about to be on as a family.  I guess the story really starts the first week of June.  I had to be admitted to the hospital to be monitored for a week before I could deliver Brennen’s little sister, Brooklyn.  It was the first time I had been away from Brennen overnight.  He started to be extremely cranky, not eating well and waking up at night.  We contributed it all to the fact he was away from his mommy for the first time.  I finally delivered my baby girl on June 11, 2010.  That day, my parents brought Brennen up to the hospital to see me and his new sister.  I immediately asked them if they thought his face looked puffy.  Everyone told me he looked fine and nothing was wrong.  However, when we got home, the crying, not eating well, etc. continued.  I called his pediatrician and got a same day appointment.  Verdict- ear infection.  Ok, no big deal.  He had several before this one.  But two days later and he was not improving and now his little lymph nodes were swollen.  Took him back to pediatrician and they explained the infection was just really bad and gave a stronger antibiotic.  Next morning, his little neck looked like he swallowed a golf ball.  Once again, back to the pediatrician.  This time, they decided to run labs.  Nurse came back in the room and explained the sample didn’t work and they needed to get another sample.  I didn’t think much of it.  About 10 minutes later, the pediatrician came in and started crying.  Instinctively, I started crying and I didn’t even know anything yet!  The fact the doctor was crying was a very bad sign!  She explained to me that her machine wouldn’t even read Brennen’s white blood count due to it being high and that she was certain he has either Lymphoma or Leukemia.  My heart sunk but a part of me thought she could be wrong.   She called Texas Children’s Hospital and told them we were on our way.

When we arrived, they were indeed waiting for us.  They instantly took us back to a room, ran labs, did an echocardiogram, x-rays- you name it.  Within a few hours, they confirmed he had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.  His WBC was so high they were afraid his little organs were going to shut down and he had a large mass around his heart and trachea.  He would have literally suffocated if I had not taken him in when I did and the mass continued to grow.  Due to his high counts, he was admitted to the ICU.  That day and the days to follow for the next 3 ½ years have left memories a mother should never have.  Watching what he had to go through was heartbreaking.

Brennen is truly my hero.  He would wear a smile even when in pain.  He endured 26 Lumbar punctures, 10 days of radiation, 6 cancer center hospital stays, 1 ICU stay, 7 blood transfusions, 2 bone marrow aspirations and 3 years, 3 months and 27 days of chemotherapy!!

I thank God every day for Brennen’s strength and courage to get through.  I am so grateful!  I pray for a cure so others do not have to go through this."


Inspired by Brennen? Consider walking alongside him on Saturday, November 11th at Trinity Groves in Dallas. Registration is now open

Fort Worth Light The Night Honored Hero: Cliff Lewis

The Light The Night Walk (LTN) to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) celebrates participants in all stages of a cancer battle - patients, survivors, caregivers, friends and family.  Each year the LTN team selects a couple honored heroes for each walk site to serve as inspiration.


Cliff Lewis is one of the 2017 honored heroes for the Fort Worth Walk.  As you read his story you will see why he was chosen for this honor.  He is the embodiment of what an honored hero should be - determined, optimistic, dedicated, and selfless.

"June 11, 2012, just eleven days after proposing to his now wife and six months after the birth of their first daughter, Cliff was diagnosed with T-Cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. The diagnosis came with many challenges along with multiple lumbar punctures, radiation, blood transfusions, and over 200 hours of chemotherapy.

Cliff's journey with LLS Light the Night Walk began in 2012 with the persuasion of his older sister while he was enduring treatment. Watching the support of the local community and caregivers and listening to the moving testimonials of current patients and survivors, it inspired him to dedicate his time and emotions to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

Currently, Cliff is celebrating his five year cancerversary with his wife and three kids cancer-free. With the support of donors and volunteers that share the same vision to rid the world of cancer and improve the quality of life for patients and caregivers, we can continue to have more success stories similar to Cliff's."

Inspired by Cliff?  Consider walking alongside him on Sunday, November 5th at the Fort Worth Walk at Panther Island Pavilion. Registration is now open.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Looking For Interns


Karsyn Scherer is a senior journalism student at the University of North Texas. She grew up in McKinney, Texas. Karsyn lost her dad to Leukemia when she was 11 years old. Since then, she has enjoyed dancing, writing and yoga. After graduation, she hopes to continue to help create a world without blood cancers.  Karsyn just finished a summer internship with the North Texas Chapter.

What made you decide to intern at LLS?
I chose to intern at LLS because my dad lost his life to Leukemia seven days after my 11th birthday. The trauma really got to me, so I want to do my part to help avoid that situation for others.

Which campaign were you involved with this summer?
I worked on multiple campaigns but the two I did the most work with were Links Fore Leukemia and Man and Woman of the Year.

What would you consider the most valuable part of your internship?
I value the real world experience that I received while interning for LLS, but the fact that my time helped others is what I value most.

What skills will you take with you from this internship to utilize in your future endeavors?
I learned how to organize events, help others fundraise, how to ask and receive donations and how to work in a professional environment.

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We are currently seeking fall interns for both the Dallas and Fort Worth offices.  Contact Alexis Meyer at Alexis.Meyer@lls.org to learn more about the available opportunities.  Find the job description and application info here

Monday, August 7, 2017

Meet Haley Smoot

The North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is pleased to introduce you to Haley Smoot.  She recently joined the North Texas LLS family and is the new Campaign Manager for our Student Series program. She is busy prepping for the upcoming school year.  Haley answered a couple questions so you can get to know her better.

1. Tell us about your nonprofit background.

I first became involved in nonprofit work when I was 16. I volunteered to help my aunt after she founded the Sarah Friend Heart Foundation in memory of my 12 year old cousin who died suddenly from an undetected heart condition. The purpose of the organization was to raise awareness of sudden cardiac arrest in kids and the need for defibrillators in schools and public places. Ultimately, the Foundation played a major role in the passage of legislation in Texas requiring schools to have defibrillators on site.

From there, I continued on a career path in public health, focusing primarily on policy and advocacy and working for the U.S. Senate, the American Heart Association, and the Texas Health and Human Services Commission. Despite my diverse background, there are two common themes throughout my work: to help people and to promote a culture of health.

2. What attracted you to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society?
I actually lost my father to colon cancer two months before I came to LLS. We watched my dad fight a harrowing two-year battle, and his death left my family reeling. We lived through two years of visits to the E.R., hospital stays, and chemotherapy treatments that pushed my dad to the brink of death, only to lose him after all of that. My dad had also lost his father to colon cancer when he was only eight years old, and other members of our family have fought the same disease. When my dad’s father was diagnosed with colon cancer, there was little that could be done. Because of the advancement of technology and treatments, my dad lived to 72. But there’s still so much work that needs to be done.

One thing I learned first-hand is that patients and their families need all the information, resources, and support they can get when fighting cancer. I’m proud to work for an organization that not only provides helpful resources but also funds research to find cures. Because of organizations like LLS, patients and their families have better access to information and support that are critical resources in the fight against cancer.


3. What do you think is so interesting about working with teams and individuals in a fundraising capacity?

I love working with people and learning what they’re passionate about. Every person and every team that commits to a fundraising campaign has something that motivates them. The passion that they show is inspiring and impactful, and their stories of how cancer has personally affected them serves as a daily reminder of why we do the work we do.

4. What are you most looking forward to with the Student Series program this next school year?
Working with kids. Most of the roles I've held throughout my career have focused on children in some capacity. I think the drive, compassion, and overall impact young people can have is truly amazing. Research has shown that this new generation, Gen Z, is motivated by the desire to make the world a better place. Gen Z is going to change the world.

You can reach Haley at 972.996.5933 or Haley.Smoot@lls.org

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Emily's Story

"Whether it was addressing thank you letters or helping to fill out grant applications, it always felt like I was making some sort of difference."  Emily, a junior at the University of Notre Dame, talks about her summer internship program with the North Texas Chapter.

We are currently seeking fall interns for both the Dallas and Fort Worth offices. Contact Alexis Meyer at Alexis.Meyer@lls.org to learn more about the available opportunities.

Read on for a little interview with Emily. 

I'm originally from Allen, TX and graduated from Ursuline Academy of Dallas in 2015. I'm currently a junior finance and economics major with an Italian minor at the University of Notre Dame. At school, I am involved with student government, serve as my dorm's service commissioner, and intern at the Ronald McDonald Family Center of South Bend. I have loved getting the chance to be a part of The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light The Night and Team In Training programs this summer and hope to be able to participate in a Team In Training running event sometime soon!

What made you decide to intern at LLS?
I first learned about LLS from my cousin Peggy Stephens who works with Light The Night in Houston. Her work for that campaign and with LLS in general completely blew me away so when I learned about this opportunity in Dallas, I could not wait to be a part of the work that LLS does and to learn more about the programs that we offer.
Which campaign were you involved with this summer?
I worked with the Light The Night and Team In Training campaigns which gave me the unique opportunity to learn about two different types programs. As a part of Light The Night, I had the chance to communicate with teams about fundraising goal setting and learn about the preparation involved for the Corporate Recruitment Event. As a part of Team In Training, I communicated regularly with coaches and volunteers, recruited volunteers for fundraising events, and had the chance to meet several TNT participants from when I attended our annual Too Hot To Handle event.

What would you consider the most valuable part of your internship?
While I learned a lot throughout this internship, the most valuable thing for me was that every time I came into the office, I was reminded that I was doing something to help someone who had been affected by blood cancer. Whether it was addressing thank you letters or helping to fill out grant applications, it always felt like I was making some sort of difference.

What skills will you take with you from this internship to utilize in your future endeavors?
Throughout this internship, I have had the chance to further develop my communication skills and to learn more about long-term event planning. With Light The Night, I was able to speak directly with team captains over the phone and help them with goal setting. I also sat in on a meeting about long-term planning for the LTN event and the kickoff events leading up to it. With Team In Training, I sent weekly updates to coaches and volunteers and had the opportunity to take the lead on recruiting volunteers for our Too Hot To Handle event. I loved being a part of these programs this summer and look forward to applying the skills as I continue in school next year.
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We are currently seeking fall interns for both the Dallas and Fort Worth offices. Contact Alexis Meyer at Alexis.Meyer@lls.org to learn more about the available opportunities.  Find the job description and application info here