When I gave our RSVP for the dinner, the coordinator asked if I would share about why we walk, how we raise funds, and what we appreciate about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I was honored, and this is what I wrote to help me keep my thoughts straight!
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We participate in the Light the Night Walk because blood cancer is now a part of our lives. Four years ago this Christmas, my mom noticed a lump near my collar bone. After several doctor visits, tests, biopsies, and then surgery, I was diagnosed with two types of non-Hodgkin Lymphoma – Diffuse Large B Cell Lymphoma and Follicular Lymphoma. I had six rounds of R-CHOP and am doing well.
At my chemo orientation, the nurse practitioner mentioned the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Since the only thing I knew about lymphoma was that my husband’s grandma died from it over 20 years ago, I was thankful for a reputable organization dedicated to blood cancer. As you know, the internet can be super scary when googling for information, so I tried to stick to LLS as my main resource.
I also took advantage of their Co-Pay Assistance program. When my doctor visits require a 150 mile round trip to Tulsa, being reimbursed for my co-pays is a big help! And I love that LLS has a very involved advocacy program that keeps us updated and provides the information so all we usually have to do is click a link!
At the end of my treatment, I was searching for ways to give back and be involved in awareness efforts. I found information about the Light the Night Walk and knew we had to do it. I appreciate that it’s more intimate than a 5K race – which we’ve also done – and that my whole family can participate with me. TEAM TERRI isn’t huge – it’s just my family – so the Walk is a great way for us to celebrate together and have a meaningful time to reflect on our journey and know that our fundraising is helping others. I love the white lantern and survivor shirt. I love that my husband and kids are recognized with red lanterns as supporters. And I love that my mother-in-law can carry a yellow lantern in memory of her mother. And this year, my father-in-law joined us with a white lantern for his battle with multiple myeloma.
I’m especially proud to be associated with an organization that gives 74% towards research and patient services! Not very many organizations can say that – especially some of the really well-known ones…
Fundraising is a little tricky for us. We live out in the country and work at a non-profit ministry, so we don’t really have the opportunity to use our workplace as a fundraising venue. I keep a “Coins for a Cure” can on my desk year round and had close to $50 by the time of the walk. In the spring I have a garage sale and use the money as a Kick-Off to our TEAM TERRI fundraising. The majority of our fundraising comes from friends and family. I use Facebook as my platform for requesting donations and take advantage of September being Blood Cancer Awareness Month. I make sure our Light the Night pages are set up and ready to go by August and then in September post something daily about blood cancer and our walk and include our TEAM TERRI link. It’s great that LLS already has graphics to use – plus my husband is a graphic designer and makes me lots of stuff! I post all year long to keep focus on blood cancer and finding a CURE!
I’m thankful to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society for their information and resources, their patient services and co-pay assistance, their advocacy on behalf of blood cancer patients, and especially for funding RESEARCH which is developing new treatments that are saving lives and will someday lead to a CURE! The statistics now compared to 40 years ago are amazing, and I’m thankful to be one of the new numbers! THANK YOU!
|Official "team" picture at the Walk|
|We're on our way to the Walk|
|Two of my kiddos|
|Showing off our SURVIVOR shirts|
|My Sweetie and biggest cheerleader|
|The beginning of the Walk|