In several of my blogs, I have mentioned my friend Barb Stayton as my inspiration for fundraising for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Here is a photo of Barb and her daughter, a lymphoma survivor, and an article which appeared last spring in the Indiana chapter’s newsletter.
A Story of Gratitude and Survival
Barb Stayton’s journey with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) began in 2004 when her daughter was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease. Months later, Barb herself was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. Many would be devastated by the diagnoses and dual treatments her family faced. However, Barb calls it a coincidence and a blessing. “What we’ve endured together has definitely been challenging, yet it has opened many doors to an organization we are now truly committed to,” said Barb. “We have been involved in and supported incredible research and met some amazing people. I feel fortunate and blessed.”
Barb fought a tremendously difficult battle. She suffered severe pain before the diagnosis while trying to support her daughter during her chemo treatments. Then Barb had a rough time during her chemo treatments, Barb was stricken with a heart attack, liver failure and damage to her retinas that left her legally blind. Through it all, she remained positive, hopeful and never gave up. LLS is the largest voluntary cancer research agency specifically focused on finding cures and better treatments for blood cancer patients such as Barb and her daughter. With the scope and scale to fund many projects at the same time, LLS supports hundreds of cancer scientists around the world.
Through her work on the board, Barb knows and understands the importance of investing in research. “The doctors, the research and the organization truly saved my life,” shares Barb. “I wouldn’t be alive if it weren’t for their life-saving drugs and research. I owe my life to LLS and with this second chance at life I want to do all that I can to give back to the organization that has given me so much.”
Giving back is an understatement! Barb has been an active volunteer and donor since 2004. She has served on several committees, joined the board in 2008, was Woman of the Year in 2009 and is currently serving as president of the Indiana Chapter. She is truly a life-long LLS advocate. And her financial commitments remain strong now as well as in the future as she and her husband have made a commitment to LLS in their will. For every dollar invested in LLS, 78% supports the mission of LLS. Research is funded through donations from people like Barb. Many scientists, clinicians and clinical trial participants have developed and improved current standards of care over time. It takes about eight years to develop a successful new drug.
Barb truly believes the time to invest in new therapies is now. “Something like this really makes you learn to appreciate life – every moment of it,” said Barb. “It’s definitely been a journey, but it’s been worth it. I don’t take anything for granted. I just don’t.”