Microscope | February 2017

Leukemia Research Foundation Earns
Top National Rating for Second Time

The Leukemia Research Foundation proudly announces it has once again earned the coveted “4-Star Charity” rating from Charity Navigator, the highest possible rating from America’s largest national independent charity evaluator. The Leukemia Research
Foundation had also achieved the top rating in November, 2015. Click here to see the full report.

The 4-star rating is Charity Navigator’s preeminent award for sound fiscal management practices and commitment to accountability and transparency and describes the charity as “exceptional…...exceeding industry standards and outperforming most charities in its cause.”


LRF-Funded Researcher Helps Discover MLL Genetics and Therapy

Mixed lineage leukemia (MLL), a rare form of leukemia primarily diagnosed in newborns and infants, now has a defined genetic driver and a targeted molecular therapy thanks to discoveries made by researchers from Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine and Jiwang Zhang, M.D., Ph.D. Details about these recent developments can be found in this article published by Science Daily.

Dr. Zhang, whose research was funded by the LRF in 2008, partnered with Northwestern’s researchers to understand the genetic mutations that cause MLL and control the spread of leukemic cells with therapy. Read more about Dr. Zhang’s research here. Dr. Zhang is an Associate Professor at the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University Medical Center.


Treatment Options for Blood Cancer Patients Conference 2017

The conference is scheduled for Saturday May 20, 2017. It will include numerous informational sessions and a luncheon panel discussion. 

The result of collaborative efforts between the LRF, National Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) and the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University Medical Center, the conference is specifically designed to provide background on the various types of treatments, including transplants that are available as viable forms of treatment for leukemia, lymphoma and other blood cancers.  

The catalyst behind this conference is Dr. Patrick Stiff, Director, Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center and Coleman Professor of Oncology at the Loyola University Medical Center. Several years ago Dr. Stiff approached the LRF with a plan to hold a conference that would be free of charge to patients, family members and caregivers to provide the opportunity for them to learn firsthand about the various options available for the treatment of blood cancers. Agenda topics vary each year and are selected and scheduled by Dr. Stiff with input from Dr. Jeffrey Chell, the Chief Executive Officer of NMDP. Dr. Stiff is responsible for choosing the presenters to assure that information on the full spectrum of treatment options for blood cancer patients is thoroughly reviewed.

Dr. Stiff’s topic in 2016 was The Role of Immunotherapy for the Treatment of Hematological Malignancies. To see a video of that presentation click here.

Click here for details about the Treatment Options for Blood Cancer Patients Conference. Slides and audio from the 2016 presentation will continue to be available on this page until the 2017 agenda is announced. Registration for the program will be available soon.

Kids Party A Big Success

Fifty pediatric leukemia and lymphoma patients, survivors and their families attended the LRF’s annual Kids’ Party. The party featured bowling, food, arts & crafts, a photo booth, and the chance for our guests to enjoy a lively morning having fun with their siblings and friends.

Thanks to all of the sponsors and donors who helped make the event possible, especially those who participated in the Sponsor a Family program. Numerous families were supported by the Sponsor a Family initiative. 

Kids’ Party is designed to provide a day of sheer fun for patients and families. Since 1997 the LRF has hosted Kids’ Party annually for patients ages 3 to 16.

Capacity Crowd at  LRF’s Town Hall Meeting

Nearly 200 blood cancer patients, survivors, caregivers and family members participated in three hours of Q & A at the LRF’s Annual Town Hall Meeting last month. (L to R) Doctors Caroline Hu from Advocate Children’s Hospital, Sonali Smith from University of Chicago Medical Center, Jayesh Mehta from the Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University, Pritesh Patel from the University of Illinois Medical Center at Chicago, Paul Rubinstein from the John H. Stroger Hospital of Cook County, Stephanie Tsai from the Cardinal Bernardin Cancer Center at Loyola University Medical Center, Marlon Kleinman from Hematology/Oncology of the North Shore / North Shore Cancer Research Association, Parameswaran Venugopal from Rush University Medical Center, and former LRF Nurse of the Year and Caregiver Carol White, RN, MSN, AOCN provided answers to specific questions posed by attendees.

This program was fantastic! — Peter D.

Thank you to the many sponsors who helped make this program possible.

Patient Resources on LRF Website
Did you know that there is a page dedicated to patient resources on the LRF website? Click here to find information on topics such as patient financial assistance, emotional support, transplantation, young adults diagnosed with cancer, clinical trials, and much more. This page has useful information for any blood cancer diagnosis.

23rd Annual ABC 7 Gibbons 5K Run and 3K Walk

Registration is now open for the 23rd Annual ABC 7 Gibbons 5K Run and 3K Walk. The event will be held in Grant Park in Chicago on Thursday, June 15, 2017. Click here to register.

Come join us as we walk and run to help find a cure for all blood cancers. Enjoy a beautiful Thursday evening on Chicago’s lakefront, bring the kids and get some exercise, great food, and hear the fabulous band Daily Special play your favorite tunes in the park. 

Looking for a great company outing? Form a company team and join others for some cause-related fun! Raise some extra money for the cause and win great prizes for yourself and the team! 

Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are available. Email Gibbons@LRFmail.org or call 847.424.0600 for details.

Join Other Loyal Supporters, Include the LRF in Your Estate Plans

The Legacy of Hope is composed of generous and forward-thinking donors who will support the long-term success of the LRF through a planned gift. Your attorney or financial advisor can work with you to include the LRF in your estate plans. No matter which planned giving option you choose, you will be honored through recognition on our website, newsletters, and a special reception at the Annual Medical Awards Luncheon. If you would rather not receive public recognition, please let us know.

For more information on how you can provide a legacy gift, please contact Cindy Kane by email at Cindy@LRFmail.org, call 847.424.0600, or see our brochure here. Your support of the LRF mission will be long remembered and serve as an inspiration to others.



Cancer Doesn’t Pick and Choose

On January 7, 2008, we heard the words “your son has cancer”. Never could we imagine that could happen to our family. Our entire family was in shock. Cancer does not discriminate; it does not pick and choose.

Emilio was only 3 1/2 years old when he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Young and innocent, he had just started preschool in Plainfield, IL. His new life became a world full of hospital visits, IV poles, blood draws, spinal taps, surgery, transfusions, and so much more. He didn’t have a normal childhood those first few years. He underwent almost 4 years of chemotherapy. Daily drives to Chicago, when he would rather be playing at home. He had to be isolated from everyone and sometimes couldn’t go outside to play because he could get sick so easily. If he cut himself, he would ask “how are my platelets mommy?” What four year old would know that?

His innocence was taken away. He would ask when was his sister going to get cancer. He was tired of being sick, taking medications and feeling different from his classmates. He would go to school when he could. He didn’t want to be different from everyone else. And as his mother, my heart aches for everything he suffered.

But he is a lucky one. Soon Emilio (left) will be celebrating his anniversary of taking that last chemotherapy. Another year of being cancer free, a survivor and is regarded as cured. He goes yearly for his checkup to ensure that the cancerous cells have not returned for a visit. Emilio has lost friends who sat next to him at the cancer clinic. It is upsetting to learn that cancer treatment is still lacking much funding, while children are suffering. I’m glad the Leukemia Research Foundation is there to help. Emilio does have some late effects of his cancer treatment. Every day I am reminded that Emilio is my hero - for surviving cancer and everything that he went through at such a young age. Cancer does not pick and choose; it can affect anyone.


FEBRUARY 9-14, 2017
Ski for Research


February 11, 2017
Joey's Angels Ski Days


March 4, 2017
Joey's Angels Ski Days

May 20, 2017
Treatment Options for
Blood Cancer Patients Conference

June 15, 2017
ABC 7 Gibbons 5K Run and 3K Walk

Visit our website to view more upcoming events.

We will continue to keep you apprised of our noteworthy achievements. Please visit us on social media for regular updates.

Thank you again for your incredible support. You make our work possible. Stand for life. Fight for life. Give for life. #LRF4LIFE.





191 Waukegan Road, Ste 105

Northfield, IL 60093

Office: 847.424.0600  |  Fax: 847.424.0606

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