“The global COVID-19 pandemic is magnifying the issues patients face beyond health concerns to include added distress, new financial worries, loneliness, and uncertainty,” Gwen Nichols, MD, LLS chief medical officer, said in a press release.
“As the leading source of free blood cancer information, education, and support, LLS is amplifying our trusted services to help patients, survivors, caregivers, families, and healthcare professionals when it’s needed most,” Nichols added.
Nichols is encouraging blood cancer community members to take time this month to learn about LLS support efforts, including the free support offered by oncology professionals to help patients and their families through their disease journey. LLS Information Specialists may be reached by phoning 800-955-4572 during weekdays from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EST.
The organization is also highlighting its Clinical Trial Nurse Navigators — registered nurses who have expertise in blood cancers. These nurses conduct clinical trial searches, and assist patients and their families throughout the clinical trial experience. In addition, the LLS has a registered dietician who specializes in oncology nutrition, and who provides free consultations.
The pandemic notwithstanding, the organization said it remains focused on its mission priorities: Research, Education & Support and Policy & Advocacy. To date, LLS has invested nearly $1.3 billion in blood cancer research.
September is also Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Some 40% of pediatric cancers are blood cancers, and about 80% of childhood cancer survivors develop at least one chronic health condition due to treatment.
Through the LLS Children’s Initiative, the LLS seeks to help children both survive their disease, and to thrive after treatment. The initiative includes research grants to advance new potential therapies, and the first global precision medicine clinical trial for pediatric acute leukemia. It also includes free education and support services for children and their families, and ongoing policy and advocacy efforts.
The organization is also encouraging virtual participation in Light The Night, its largest fundraising campaign. The event raises money to support cutting-edge research for blood diseases including multiple myeloma.
“When you or someone you love hears the words ‘you have cancer,’ it’s one of the darkest moments in your life,” said Nichols. “Nothing can stop LLS from working to bring light to that darkness. Not even a global pandemic can stop us from remembering those we’ve lost, and celebrating those who survived.
“From the comfort of your home or responsibly, in your own communities, you can make an impact in the lives of blood cancer patients, who can’t wait for COVID-19 to go away. There’s still so much work to be done, and blood cancer patients need support now, more than ever,” Nichols added.
Go here to learn more about what the LLS offers.