Heroes for Hope

Here are just a few of the people and institutions that help the LRF achieve its mission.


Katrina Lord

“I walk the Gibbons 5K for three simple reasons:

I walk because I can.

I am here because of research, support, and determination. In February 2011 I was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. With an entourage of family, friends, medical staff, and unlimited strangers I completed the 2.5 years of treatment to dominate the disease. I am fortunate enough to be celebrating 4 years of being giddily cancer-free. (My picture is from my cancerversary.)

I walk so that others can.

My hope is that those future cancer-fighters have a shorter battle. Scratch that. My hope is that the disease can be detected and eliminated without a battle. Medical science is amazing. Fascinating. I wouldn’t be here without the leaps and bounds they’ve made over the past couple of decades. I believe dreams come true and I dream that for future warriors.

I walk because others can’t.

For a while there, I couldn’t walk due to exhaustion and hip issues due to steroids. Two bionic hips later, I am strutting my stuff again. Sadly along my path here, I met other warriors that will not be at the race because cancer took them away from us. They will be in my heart. I walk for my friends and for the strangers that research and support will save.”

 Barry Schatz 

Brian Reigler is currently the Principal at Waukegan High School following prior stints in the same position at Crete-Monee and Herscher High Schools. In addition to experience in education, Mr. Riegler also brings military background to Waukegan. Mr. Riegler is in his 23rd year of service in the United States Navy Reserves, where he holds the rank of Lieutenant Commander. He previously served three years in the United States Navy as a weapons specialist. He has degrees from Valparaiso University and the University of Illinois-Chicago, and is currently completing his Ph.D. at Northern Illinois University.

Dr. Parameswaren Venugopal

Dr. Parameswaren Venugopal is a Professor at Rush University Medical Center specializing is hematology and internal medicine., His research interests include clinical trials for the treatment of hematologic malignancies, factors that predict response to therapy and prognosis and monoclonal antibodies and experimental drug treatments for hematologic malignancies. His earned his medical degree from the University of Kerala Medical College in India and did his residency at Henry Ford Hospital and Rush University.

10th Annual Kingfish Shootout, The Crowder Jackson Family

Lisa Crowder Jackson was diagnosed with leukemia in 2001 and her memory is honored with this great tournament shootout weekend.

The Leukemia Research Foundation is honored to have support from the Crowder Jackson Family and the community of anglers, volunteers, donors, and friends who support the Kingfish Shootout.

Esther Reckles

In May of 1946, Esther Reckles gathered a group of friends and family to form a memorial club to raise funds for leukemia research. She did this in memory of her nephew Sherwin Pessin, who lost his battle with leukemia just six months earlier.

Leukemia was a well-known but not well-understood disease in 1945. When Esther asked what she could do to help, doctors replied that she should raise money for research. That first year the group raised $1,500 (the buying power of $18,599 today) and had established the first LRF Chapter – the Sherwin Pessin Memorial Chapter.

Since 1946, the LRF has raised well over $56 million to achieve its mission: The LRF is dedicated to conquering all blood cancers by funding research into their causes and cures, and enriching the quality of life of those touched by these diseases.

Thank you Esther Reckles for being . . . and inspiring . . . Heroes for Hope since 1946.

 Janet Rowley

"Funding New Investigators is extremely important because this is the , , ,beginning of a talented individual’s career, and it’s also a time when they’re most ,vulnerable. They don’t have much of a track record except their college records ,and their graduate school records, so major organizations and the national government don’t fund very many of them."

Janet Rowley, M.D.

Leukemia Research Foundation research grant recipient, National Medal of Science recipient, 2009 Presidential Medal of Freedom Recipient.

Alden Rehabilitation, Health Care and Senior Living Services 

Alden Rehabilitation, Health Care and Senior Living Services has been a Hero for Hope for 34 years. Alden is one the most dedicated contributors to the mission of the LRF – donating more than $4.7 million through fundraising activities throughout its network of health care centers and senior living communities.

Alden’s commitment to leukemia research dates back to 1978, when Alden President Floyd A. Schlossberg and his wife Ina’s dear friends and neighbors lost their 10-year-old son, Alan Brin, to leukemia. At that time, they joined friends and family in forming the Donald Davidson-Alan Brin Memorial Chapter of the Leukemia Research Foundation. Over the years, three other close friends have succumbed to the devastating disease. And each year, the Davidson-Brin Memorial Chapter works even harder to fulfill Ina’s dream.

"My dream is that one day we won’t need to have a foundation because a cure will be found,” says Ina Schlossberg. Until that day, she adds, she and Alden’s employees, residents and facilities will continue to help make that dream come true."

The LRF is honored and humbled by the incredible support of Floyd and Ina Schlossberg and Alden.

Eddie Vickers

In 2003, Jeff Vickers of Pewaukee, Wisconsin was diagnosed with leukemia. His treatment would include a stem cell transplant. Jeff needed a donor and his brother Eddie was a match. Not only did Eddie follow through with the bone marrow donation, he says he will do it again for someone else in need. Click to see the video relating Eddie’s experience in his own words. Watch and see why we’re proud to call Eddie is one of LRF’s Heroes for Hope.

 Mae Wortman

Devoted donors like Mae never give up hope that a cure will someday be found.
Mae Wortman lost her son David to leukemia in 2000, after he received a bone marrow transplant from his brother Michael. David was an engineer, organic farmer and avid outdoorsman living in Colorado at the time of his death. He routinely donated blood and platelets and his leukemia was discovered after one such donation.

Mae began the David Wortman Memorial Fund at the LRF in 2002. She is a tireless philanthropist and has been a major donor and vocal advocate on behalf of the LRF.

Blood Science Foundation

The Blood Science Foundation (BSF) is an operating unit of the Institute for Transfusion Medicine (ITxM). In addition, ITxM is the parent company of LifeSource Blood Services.

In 2009, the LRF received a multi-year grant from the BSF, becoming one of the first external organizations to receive philanthropic support from the BSF. The $150,000 grant was distributed over three years and provided funding specifically earmarked to help support the Educational Conferences and Patient Financial Assistance Programs of the LRF. In 2010 the LRF awarded its prestigious Star of the Year Award to the Blood Science Foundation. The award is presented to a select few who have taken the Foundation to new heights and truly created a legacy in pursuit of a cure. In 2011, BSF approved continuing support of the LRF by funding a $100,000 grant in both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 grant funding cycles - further bolstering the LRF’s New Investigator Research Program.

Blood collection and providing safe blood products to hospitals and, ultimately, patients in need is ITxM’s primary goal. It distributes more than one million blood components each year to people across the country and even the world. Based in Pittsburgh, PA, ITxM is perhaps known better in Chicago as the parent company of LifeSource. The LRF is grateful to benefit from the daily involvement of employees of LifeSource and from its participation in numerous LRF educational, support, and fundraising events.