The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada

January 21, 2008 09:00 ET

Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Launches National Awareness Campaign

Every 38 minutes a Canadian is diagnosed with a blood cancer

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA--(Marketwire - Jan. 21, 2008) - The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada is launching its first national campaign to raise awareness of the need for advanced research into the detection, prevention and treatment of blood cancers.

The effects of blood cancer on the lives of Canadians are staggering. Every 79 minutes someone in Canada loses the fight against the disease. Leukemia - one of four primary types of blood cancer - claims more lives than any other cancer among children under the age of twenty.

In the 1960s, one type of blood cancer, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL), was essentially an incurable disease. Today, it can now be cured in about one third of adults. Joanne Turner, an ALL survivor and board member of the LLS Western Canada Chapter is one of the lucky third.

"Research saves lives. I am living proof. My goal is to ensure that more blood cancer patients are celebrating cancer-free anniversaries and that ultimately, we learn how to prevent all cancers entirely," says Turner who is spearheading the national English communications campaign.

Diagnosed with ALL in 1997, Turner was not expected to survive past the age of 27. This year she marked her ten-year leukemia-free anniversary by running her first marathon with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's number one fund raising program, Team in Training. Turner crossed the finish line of the Nike Women's Marathon in San Francisco on October 21, 2007 and contributed to the $18.5 million that was raised at the event for blood cancer research.

Although survival rates for ALL have improved in the past four decades, approximately 65 per cent of adults diagnosed still die of the disease.

Rudy Putns, CEO of the LLS Canada, is optimistic that the campaign will raise awareness amongst Canadians for a greater need to fund blood cancer research. "In the past decade, we have identified significantly more effective treatments for several blood cancers. But the fact remains that 6720 Canadian adults and children die from leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma each year. We most certainly need increased resources and research to continue to positively change this outcome."

In North America, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has raised $550.8 million to date for research specifically targeting blood cancers. All donations made in Canada remain here to fund Canadian research and patient services.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services. Founded in 1949 in the USA, the LLS was formed in 2004 in Canada and currently has chapters in Toronto, Montreal, Calgary and Vancouver. To donate, please visit www.lls.org/canada or call 1-800-268-2144.

Note to editors: Spokespeople and blood cancer survivors from all chapters across Canada are available. Print and broadcast public service announcement materials also available upon request.

For more information or to arrange an interview, please see below contact information.

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