Toddler to be Honored at Chicago Light The Night Walk

Aubrey Deno, an acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) survivor, will be honored on Saturday, October 18 at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) annual Light The Night Walk in Chicago. Aubrey will join thousands of other participants at locations around Northwest Indiana and Illinois to honor survivors, remember loved ones and walk in recognition of those still battling blood cancers. In the summer of 2010, Dustin Deno and his wife Lacey noticed some significant bruises on their little 13 month old baby, Aubrey. She had just started walking and they thought it was nothing unusual, especially not cancer.  Aubrey was taken to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University for tests and they showed her blood packed with leukemia cells, specifically Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

aubrey3Typically the treatment for ALL is two years of outpatient chemo but after the first round, doctors saw little positive response.  Aubrey received two more rounds of chemotherapy to get her in remission. Since her cancer was so aggressive, it was sure to come back unless the doctors performed a stem cell transplant. Little did Dustin and Lacey know that the intense chemotherapy during the stem cell transplant would have such a negative impact on Aubrey’s health.  Aubrey’s liver started to fail, causing her lungs and kidneys to fail as well.  Right before their eyes, the Deno’s watched their little girl as she was given less than a 1% chance at survival.  After several months in the ICU, intubated and on dialysis, Aubrey was given a trial drug. It worked. Aubrey bounced back and her vital organs began to respond.

Aubrey battled a long two year recovery, but she is taking the world by storm and fighting back against her cancer.

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In Memory of Vickie

Hillary Gelfman will run her fourth marathon at the Bank of America Marathon on October 12 with Team In Training (TNT), the largest endurance charity program, to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)Sisters Team Vickie. This time it will be in memory of her sister Vickie.

Vickie was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2013 and lost her battle this August. Last year, Team Vickie raised an amazing $34,000 to support blood cancer research. This year Hillary Gelfman is on her way to reaching $60,000 and is poised to be the highest fundraiser among all charities at the Bank of America Marathon.

Chronicled in her late sister’s blog, Team Vickie began as a way to give back and give hope to blood cancer patients. Vickie’s first entry on March 2, 2013 sets the tone for Team Vickie’s journey, “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Since her sister’s passing, Hillary has become an even greater inspiration to other TNT participants by sharing her story. She honors her sister’s memory by continuing her blog and continuing to run in hope of someday finding a cure for leukemia and other blood cancers.

“She wanted to be remembered for things that had nothing to do with her illness, and she wanted us to talk about her frequently, and about happy things.” says Hillary about Vickie.

Learn more about Vickie and her battle with leukemia on her blog.

Lake County, IN leukemia Survivor Walks to End Cancer

Maggie headshotMaggie Butkus-Hardin of Griffith, Indiana, a chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) survivor, will be honored on Saturday, October 18 at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) annual Light The Night Walk in Crown Point, Indiana. Maggie will join thousands of other participants at locations around Northwest Indiana and Illinois to honor survivors, remember loved ones and walk in recognition of those still battling blood cancers. In 2013, Maggie was suffering from severe exhaustion and had a swollen abdomen. After numerous x-rays, CT scans and lab work doctors diagnosed Maggie with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Maggie was admitted to Rush University Hospital and received four blood transfusions and a bone marrow biopsy on her first day of treatment.

Following hours of weighing her treatment options, Maggie chose to be treated with the LLS-funded drug Gleevec, which is an oral chemotherapy drug taken daily to control the progression of CML. A month later, after an initial adjustment to the medication, Maggie was back at work as a part-time esthetician. Maggie picked up a flyer at her doctor’s office last spring and learned about LLS’s Illinois Blood Cancer Conference. She took the opportunity to learn more about her cancer and take control of her cancer journey. Maggie attended the conference and heard about the Light The Night Walk and the importance of the event. Maggie gathered her friends and family and started a team for the Northwest Indiana Walk.

“I fundraise to help promote research, to help others and to ultimately find a cure,” Maggie says.

“I want a cure for myself and everyone else.”

Crystal Lake Resident to be Honored at Light The Night Walk

???????????????????????????????Reese Schroeder of Crystal Lake, Illinois, a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) survivor, will be honored on Saturday, October 18 at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) annual Light The Night Walk in Elmhurst. Reese will join thousands of other participants at locations around Northwest Indiana and Illinois to honor survivors, remember loved ones and walk in recognition of those still battling blood cancers.

Reese was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B Cell non Hodgkins lymphoma in August 2008 after discovering a lump under his left arm. Reese immediately began a round of chemotherapy treatment and in less than a year was in remission. Unfortunately, in April 2012 Reese began having abdominal pain and by June it was discovered that he had a large mass growing on his spleen, pancreas and colon. Reese’s cancer had returned and in September of that year he began another round of chemotherapy treatments.

At the end of his chemotherapy treatment, Reese’s became a candidate for an autologous stem cell transplant, where stem cells are extracted from the blood. On January 2, 2013 Reese had his transplant and by the end of the month was well enough to go home. “I have seen firsthand the kind of support that LLS provides to people dealing with blood cancer and their families, as well as the funds they raise for critical research,” says Reese.

“I am totally committed to working with LLS in their mission to eradicate blood cancers.”

Illinois Blood Cancer Conference

On Saturday, September 13, health professionals, patients, survivors, and caregivers hodaamel_llsbcc-5347gathered at Hamburger University at McDonald’s campus to attend our annual Blood Cancer Conference.  Attendees heard presentations from top medical professionals discussing emerging trends in cancer treatment, health and nutrition, and the importance of clinical trials. A representative from Governor Quinn’s office presented information about the Affordable Care Act as it relates to cancer patients.

Attendees had a chance to visit vendor booths from local pharmaceutical companies and health institutions. Representatives were available to answer questions relating to blood cancer treatments, clinical trials, patient support, and patient care.

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This year, LLS hosted a Spanish speaking program as a way to reach out and support the Latino community. A crowd of 50 listened to medical professional discussing the types of blood cancer and their treatments, accessing health information and how to navigate the health system. A question and answer session quickly followed.

To learn more about our Patient Access & Education programs visit our website at http://www.lls.org/il. The next Illinois Blood Cancer Conference will be held on September 19, 2015.