September is Leukemia and Lymphoma Awareness month, and The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is hosting an event called the Light the Night Walk. Participation in the walk helps raise funds for the LLS and research into life-saving treatments.  The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) has been dedicated to curing blood cancers since 1949; it is the world’s largest global nonprofit health organization committed to blood cancer research and education and support services. Its mission is to “cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.” LLS seeks to ensure that blood cancer patients live longer, better lives.

Blood cancer statistics are astounding:

  • Experts estimate that 156,420 Americans will be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma in 2014, creating an estimated 1,665,540 new cases for 2014.
  • In 2014 alone, 52,380 people will be diagnosed with leukemia.
  • Studies estimate 310,046 Americans are living with or in remission from leukemia.
  • From 2006-2010, the fifth most common cause of male cancer deaths was leukemia.
  • Also from 2006-2010, the sixth most common cause of female cancer deaths was leukemia.
  • Researchers expect 79,990 new cases of lymphoma in the US in 2014.
  • About 731,277 Americans live with or are in remission from lymphoma.
  • About every 3 minutes, in the US alone, another individual is diagnosed with a blood cancer.
  • Experts estimate that in 2014, 20,170 Americans will die from lymphoma.

But it is not a hopeless fight! The overall five-year survival rate for leukemia patients has increased over four times since 1960, from 14 percent (in 1960-1963) to 59.2 percent (in 2003-2009), and the overall five-year survival rate for lymphoma patients has also drastically decreased. The more people participate in events like the Light the Night Walk, the more funds are raised in research and education, and the more lives that are saved.  

It has never been so easy to make a global difference; now is the time to volunteer for LLS in your local community. You can participate in the Light the Night walk individually or build your own team. There are a variety of locations and times for the Light the Night Walk, so check in your local area for the LLS event for everyone!  We at Virginia Cancer Specialists have our own team competing in the walk on October 17 in Reston Town Center. Why not join or build your own?