Taking Steps to Solve Blood Cancers

zzzBy Lydia Vazquez

Light the Night Walk sponsored by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society takes place this weekend Downtown to raise funds to find cures for blood cancers.

Groups at CSN are now raising funds and plan to walk this weekend. LLS hopes to raise $450,000. At present nearly half that amount was donated, according to LLS’s website.

Team Real McCoys led by James McCoy, College of Southern Nevada’s vice president of academic affairs who survived lymphoma, is a large fundraising team.

“I was away at a work conference in California and that’s when I got the call,” McCoy said. “Three years ago I was diagnosed with a blood cancer called lymphoma. It was a tough time in my life.”

Leukemia and lymphoma are types of cancers that can affect bone marrow, blood cells and other parts of the lymphatic system.

According to LLS’ website approximately every 3 minutes one person in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer and every 9 minutes someone dies from it.

Approximately 172,000 people are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma in 2016. Approximately 1.2 million people in the United States are living with or are in remission from a these blood cancers, according to LLS.

McCoy is passionate about working with LLS, as it helped him when he was working through one of the hardest points in his life. He is now a board member for the organization.

As of last year McCoy was cured of cancer and is in remission.

“I decided I was going to do everything I can to give back to the organization that gave so much to me and more importantly to dedicate my time and resources the best I can to help advance the mission to help find a cure for cancer,” McCoy said.

Last year The Real McCoys participated in Light the Night Walk where the community gathered with lit lanterns and raised $12,000 for LLS, according to McCoy.

For this year’s event 700 people already signed up to walk, McCoy noted.

As of Nov. 1, Team Real McCoys raised nearly $13,000, as tracked on LLS’ website.

Executive Director of Southern Nevada’s chapter Elizabeth Hunterton helped coordinate the team at CSN. She said, “Each patient and every family has touched my heart and remind me daily why it’s critical that we continue to strive for a cure. There’s never a good time to have cancer but it is a really exciting time to be part of the fight against it.”

“The LLS funding initiatives this year are targeted therapies, immunotherapies and or BEAT AML initiative all of which will culminate in paradigm shifting treatments and bring us steps closer to a world without blood cancers,” Hunterton said.

The monies raised in Nevada will stay local to help support patients with copay assistance, support groups and educational resources, Hunterton added.

Izzy Thorn, campaign assistant for LLS, said the inspirational and memorable evening walks each fall across 200 communities in the country join thousands of people together to take steps to end cancer. This weekend’s walk will continue the fight.

To learn about LLS and how to participate in the walk click this link http://pages.lightthenight.org/snv/LasVegas16.

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