Thursday, July 17, 2014

Susan Allen: First Connection

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) offers patients and their families a number of different resources to help during treatment.  One of the most popular programs is called the Patti Robinson Kaufman First Connection Program.  The purpose is to put patients in contact with somebody who has already gone through treatment for the same type of blood cancer.  LLS does its best to match age, gender, diagnosis and treatment options when making a First Connection match.  

Read as Steve Bradbury of Fort Worth talks about his experience using the First Connection Program below.

"In January of 1992 I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  I had never heard of this and at 23 years of age I was bulletproof.   I completed three months of chemotherapy and 60 days of radiation, and ten years later I was released from my doctor.  I kept going back for two more years, cancer free.   Then in the fall/winter of 2013 I became ill, pneumonia, cough, and could not kick it. Finally the day before Thanksgiving I went for a CT.  Within ten days I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma again.  I was a little less bullet proof at age 45.   Luckily, I have clients who work in the cancer arena and I was put in contact with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. From there I found out about First Connection.

Within a few days of my second treatment I received a call from a man named Jim Omara in Pennsylvania. He had gone through treatments for Hodgkin’s lymphoma twice himself.  This call was a blessing to me.  We spoke like we knew each other for years and email each other monthly now with updates, questions and stories.  I am almost finished with my treatment and the last pet scan showed that the cancer was gone.  Jim has been cancer free for some time and I told him after I first visit, that as soon as I was done with the treatment I would be joining the First Connection to help others.  He really helped me focus on me, my treatment and I hoped I would be able to do the same for others."

Please reach out to me if you are interested in learning more about the First Connection program or would like to get involved.

Your friend, 


Susan Allen is the Patient Access Manager of the North Texas Chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and author of this monthly blog series.  She is a 22-year Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor, registered nurse and a Certified Nurse Navigator.

Contact Susan:
(972) 996-5905

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