Year 8 of the Big Climb!
Many of us are currently feeling compelled, perhaps more than ever, to be of service and help our communities.
But how do you engage with your community if you can’t be IN your community? Giving your time and resources isn’t always easy, but the impact it can have on you, and those you serve, is immeasurable.
My introduction to LLS (The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) began 8 years ago when I heard a commercial on the radio about the Seattle Big Climb, a fundraiser where participants climb 1,311 steps up the tallest building in Seattle, the Columbia Center. This radio ad caught my attention for one particular reason – I had a close friend, and T-Mobile co-worker, who had just been diagnosed with AML, Acute Myeloid Leukemia. She went from a cold she couldn’t kick to being admitted to the hospital to start chemo, and I felt compelled to act.
The first year we climbed, a small team of 12 ascended up those stairs the same week our friend underwent a new type of treatment for AML using cord blood, which is similar to an organ transplant in that your body may reject it. The second year, our team doubled in size, and the person we had previously climbed in honor of joined us. Naturally, it was extremely emotional once we all got to the top.
Year over year, we continue to climb. The team continues to include people from T-Mobile who participate to celebrate our friend or to honor someone else they know who has been impacted by cancer. I’m proud to share that our team has been recognized year over year as a top fundraising team, as well as earning a Community Leadership award in 2018!
In 2020, we had to move the in-person climb to a virtual experience where participants were asked to climb, walk, run, roll or step up the equivalent of the original 1,311-step challenge at home. We are planning for this format again in 2021, which is a bummer, as the in-person experience hooks you (despite how dreadful those stairs are). On the plus side, that means the event is now more accessible to people across the nation!
Along with my personal connection to LLS, there are numerous reasons why I chose it as “my cause,” including its mission to find a cure for these cancers and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. However, since blood is easily accessible, blood cancer research has led to treatments for other forms of cancer, as well as other diseases such as Lupus and MS, so I feel like my efforts go beyond blood cancer.
What I really appreciate about giving back with LLS, and why I have subsequently joined its Washington/Alaska Chapter Board, is the how they engage with their community. There is so much heart and passion in this organization, so when the opportunity came up to participate as a leader, I had to say yes.
And that is my challenge to you: Find something you are passionate about, find a way to participate, and dive in.
There are so many things outside of our control right now. Giving back and performing acts of kindness, is what we need – for our own wellbeing, as well as that of others.
Who is The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society?
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. The mission of LLS is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.
Every day, more than 347 LLS sponsored researchers come closer to the goal of finding a cure for leukemia and related blood cancers. Locally, LLS funds 10 researchers at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and University of Washington Medical Center. Your support and commitment to the mission of LLS enables us to continue this important work of saving lives and aids us in our ability to reach patients in our community.
Thank you for your time and I hope that you will consider donating to this cause!
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