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