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Celebrating 25 Years and Counting: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's "Team In Training" Goes the Distance and Beyond for Blood Cancer Patients

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., June 19, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- This year alone, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is supporting more than 300 research projects with one goal in mind: Discovering lifesaving therapies for blood cancer patients. And in 2013, "Team In Training" (TNT), a flagship LLS fundraising campaign and the world's first and largest endurance sports training program, is marking its landmark 25th anniversary. To date, TNT has helped LLS invest more than $875 million in research to discover and deliver breakthrough cancer treatments that are saving lives today.

"More than 570,000 participants have participated in Team In Training since 1988. Not only have they had an unforgettable experience and opportunity to reach personal goals, but these committed individuals have brought us closer to the ultimate finish line: The end of blood cancers," states George Omiros, Executive Vice President, Chief Campaign and Field Development Officer, LLS. "Team In Training has played a tremendous role in the success of LLS, in helping us fund leading scientists and researchers to discover novel, breakthrough blood cancer treatments and cures."

In fact, advances achieved partly through LLS-funded research have increased the five-year survival rate for acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) from three percent in 1964 to 90 percent today. Further, blood cancer research is a gateway to treatments and even cures for many other cancers, as well as some inflammatory diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis. "Thanks to extraordinary campaigns such as Team In Training, LLS is able to fund breakthrough therapies that are saving lives today," states Louis DeGennaro, PhD, Chief Mission Officer, LLS. "For example, LLS funding helped advance the discovery and clinical testing of Gleevec® which has transformed chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) from an almost always fatal disease into a chronic manageable condition for most CML patients."

The Road to a Cure
Back in 1988, Rye, New York resident Bruce Cleland started Team In Training by forming a team to train for and run in the New York City Marathon while raising funds for LLS in honor of his daughter, Georgia, who had been diagnosed two years earlier at the age of two with ALL, the most common form of cancer to afflict children.

"I was trying to get past the helplessness and fear I felt as a result of my daughter's deadly diagnosis. When Georgia was diagnosed, the five-year survival rate was only a shocking 60 percent. A desire to help her, and others like her was my fuel," said Cleland. "Day after day it literally got me up on my feet, out on the road and eventually over the finish line along with my wonderful TNT teammates."

This team of 38 runners – a rarity at the time – raised a remarkable $320,000 for LLS's Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter in New York. Thanks to the pioneering efforts of Cleland and the Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter, TNT was born.

Georgia's story is the embodiment of LLS's mission. Now 29 and cancer-free, Georgia completed three TNT half-marathons in 2012 and is running her fourth, the Nike Women's Marathon, in October, 2013. Joining her in that event will be her three siblings, Samantha, James and Mark who, like their father and so many others, are committed to raising funds and striving to change the landscape of blood cancer.

A program that runs throughout the year, TNT gives participants a choice of more than 200 accredited national and local events in the United States and abroad. In exchange for raising funds, they receive four to five months of personalized training by TNT-certified professional coaches. For more information about TNT and to view a multimedia release, including the inspirational campaign public service announcement, please visit LLS is also on Facebook and Twitter. For more information and to sign up for an event, go to and

About "Someday Is Today"
The blood cancer community is at an extraordinary moment: Lives are being saved today. In 2013, LLS launched its first-ever marketing and branding campaign to highlight the remarkable progress that this global organization and its partners in pharma and biotech, academia, government and medical settings are making right now to change the face of blood cancer: "Someday Is Today."

LLS' new signature campaign, "Someday Is Today," is designed to raise awareness and highlight achievements from today, and goals for tomorrow:

  • In the past 50 years the survival rate for blood cancer has doubled, tripled or even quadrupled
  • Advances achieved in part through LLS-funded research in the past 50-plus years have increased the five-year survival rate for the most common form of childhood leukemia from three to 90 percent
  • LLS partners closely with leading universities and biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to get treatments to patients faster than ever before
  • LLS research grants have funded today's most promising advances, including targeted therapies (such as Gleevec®, Velcade®, Kyprolis®) and immunotherapies (such as Rituxan®)
  • Nearly 50 percent of all cancer drugs approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration in the last 12 years were first approved for blood cancers
  • LLS launched the Therapy Acceleration Program (TAP) in 2007, to advance development of new therapies and diagnostics by bridging the gap between discovery and human applications, and to increase the likelihood that novel, even breakthrough treatments will be available to patients as soon as possible

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to curing blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services for patients and their loved ones.

Major LLS fundraising campaigns include Team In Training, Light The Night, School & Youth, Man & Woman of the Year and Regatta. To reach the widest possible audience, LLS partners with national and regional level companies and brands, including Nike, Disney, Burlington and others.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit Patients and caregivers should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

Marcie Klein
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Carrie Rose

SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Copyright©2012 PR Newswire.
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