Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Celebrating 15 Years With LLS

This month Sue Lutz is celebrating 15 years as an employee of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).  If you have been around the North Texas Chapter for long, there's no doubt that you've run into Sue.  Her official title is Systems Manager  but she does so much more than that!  She sat down with us and talked about the changes she's seen in North Texas in the last decade and a half.

Biggest Changes:
Technology!  I had never sent an email before I started with LLS and the office only had one printer and it didn't have the capability to print in color.  Online donations are something had not even been thought of yet.  Now it is an incredibly effective and successful means for people to raise money.  Also improved - the quality of the pictures and graphics that we use.  The stories we tell are so much more impactful because they look sharp and are eye catching and engaging.

Office Changes:
I have worked in two different offices and have gone through four lease expansions in each place.  I started at the location on Spurling Drive and at the time we only had 10-12 employees.  I have seen this office grow and change quite a bit since Spurling.  When we added the Lone Star Blood Cancer Conference (now the North Texas Blood Cancer Conference) in 2004 we saw an influx of people coming into our Dallas office and in 2005 we opened up the Fort Worth office.  Now we have more than 30 full and part time staff between the two offices and 6-7 interns each semester.  It is exciting to see our office buzzing and growing like it is.

Board of Trustees:
Danny McQuary, Mona Carlton, Bob Matlock, Frances Broussard - we have such incredible people on the North Texas Board of Trustees.  The people I just mentioned have been involved with our organization for years and have become part of the fabric.  When I started I did not have any contact with the board members but now I know them by name and face because they are here so often and so involved in what we are doing.

I have seen the LLS signature campaigns change quite a bit over the last 15 years.  One thing that has remained constant - they have all continued to grow and look much more professional each year.  When I first started, we were holding nine Light The Night Walks (it got up to 11 at one point) and we had to do all of the moving of materials and tent construction ourselves.  It was exhausting!

The Saint Valentine's Day Luncheon & Fashion Show and Links Fore Leukemia Golf Tournament were already established when I started.  It is amazing that the people who were involved with these events 15 years ago are still coming and helping and working to improve them.  I am excited to see how the chapter's newest event, Over the Edge, is going to work.  I think it is going to be a hit.

Honored Heroes: 
Oh my gosh, that is just something that I can't even think about right now.  The names escape me but their faces don't.  I remember a little girl named Jenny.  She was diagnosed with leukemia when she was three months old and lost her battle when she was nine months old.  Her passing away hit our chapter very hard and we released balloons in her memory off the roof of this building.  I always like meeting the survivors.  They serve as good reminders that what we are doing here is making a difference.

Thank you Sue for your dedication to LLS, the patients in North Texas and the thousands of people you've touched over the last 15 years.

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