Optimists learn about Leukemia and Lymphoma

The St. Andrews Optimists Club welcomed Amanda Dupree as its featured speaker on May 13.

Dupree is the Regional Development Director for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). She is responsible for fundraising efforts in the Georgia-South Carolina Region.

Despite its name, LLS actually includes all blood cancers, such as Hodgkins and Myeloma. LLS helps to fund research and to service families of blood cancer patients.

LLS fundraising relies on a mix of corporate, institutional, and individual contributions. One strong component, somewhat unexpected at first, has been the efforts of high school students. A few of those campaigns have each raised funds in excess of $100,000.

Research is on a pace to increase every year. For example, from 2017 to 2020, 70 new therapies were developed and were given the FDA green light. Of those, LLS supported 60 such therapies. The result has been a survivorship rate of more than 10 years. Leukemia is the number one cancer diagnosed in children, and that specific disease is experiencing a survival rate comparable to the across-the-board rate. 

The research never stops. Under study now is the possibility of implanting a custom-engineered virus that only attacks cancer cells. Within the research community, that research is often referred to as “Fire With Fire.”