Getting Involved During Blood Cancer Awareness Month & Beyond

Nearly 1.3 million people in the U.S are living with or in remission from leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma. Blood cancers are the third leading cancer killer of Americans. An even more startling statistic is that every three minutes, someone in the US is diagnosed with blood cancer.1

September was designated as the National Blood Cancer Awareness Month in 2010 by the US congress.2 The aim is to raise awareness of what blood cancers are, who they affect and how people can help.

Blood cancers do not discriminate

Blood cancers do not discriminate and can affect anyone at any time. Signs and symptoms can be nonspecific and attributed to something else. Early diagnosis can make all the difference when it comes to treatment. Blood cancer is complex. Some patients require a bone marrow/stem cell transplant. Patients undergoing treatment for blood cancer may require a blood or platelet transfusion. There is a huge need for blood donors. Thanks to research, treatment of blood cancers has improved the prognosis and outlook. By educating the public on why research is so important and sharing stories of how it has helped, we can further increase support.

As a blood cancer survivor, I am most interested in promoting increased awareness and support for those with blood cancer. We have lived the challenges faced by those diagnosed with blood cancer.

There is no way to prevent or screen for blood cancer; therefore, the focus must be on effective treatments and, ultimately, a cure.

What can we do to raise awareness?

Share your story

Personal stories of your journey with blood cancer are very compelling. When read, others are aware of the many challenges faced by the cancer patient. These can be posted on websites such as the story board.

Raise awareness on social media

Use social media to identify and discuss the unmet needs of the blood cancer patient. Our legislators need to hear first hand the physical, emotional and certainly financial impact of these diseases on not only patients but family as well.

Connect with legislators

Advocate for more government support for blood cancer patients. This can be done by posting on government websites or writing or contacting government officials to encourage financial support for research.

Volunteer at an event

I can remember my excitement and fulfillment when I participated in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Light the Night walk. My family and friends also contributed, which made me feel as though we were making a difference.

Volunteer to help other blood cancer patients

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) has a variety of opportunities, as well as many other organizations. The hours are often flexible, and the roles can typically be matched to your interests. I have felt a tremendous gratitude as a patient volunteer. When I was first diagnosed, I was overwhelmed and sought out support. I contacted a wonderful representative at the LLS who helped me understand the disease, and plan strategies to deal with it. I will never forget her sincere compassion.

All help is appreciated. Whether you volunteer, participate in a fundraiser, share your story or advocate for research, all help is appreciated, and you will help make a difference.

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This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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