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And we are off….

February 29, 2012

On March 29 our campaign to raise money for The Leukemia Lymphoma Society (LLS) officially launched.  We now have ten weeks to raise money through letters, gatherings, events, auctions and …. more events.  The 2012 Man and Woman of the Year campaign is designed to raise money on behalf of our honorees, Alec Simas and Emme Webb, who have spent half their lives with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a particularly pernicious disease affecting mostly children. I had not met Alec and Emme when I agreed to raise funds for LLS, but meeting them and their parents and hearing their stories has changed my view of this campaign and our team’s objectives. We want to cure cancer.

We are Team “Motion to Dismiss” Cancer – a clever play on words to reflect that I am a lawyer (I wish I could claim credit for coming up with the name, but that was one of my more creative team members). It is not only a “motion to dismiss” that we are making, we are in “motion” to dismiss, with a 5K run/walk, a boot camp, a zumba and a salsa party planned. There will be no lack of motion in this endeavor.

And it is motion to dismiss “cancer,” not just leukemia and lymphoma (although that is where we are starting).  Because the blood is relatively accessible, blood cancer therapies may lead the way to other drugs that battle other types of cancer. Even now, leukemia therapies have been found effective against stomach cancers. When we cure leukemia, we will cure cancer. That’s right – I said cure cancer.

At the start, when people asked me what I hoped to accomplish by committing hundreds of hours to LLS, I would tell them that it was to raise money for research, which will be used to develop drugs that fight cancer and improve quality of life. That was before I talked to the LLS personnel who direct the funds and the scientists who actually do the research. Now I tell people that we want to help cure cancer. And they look at me and say something like “you mean you want to help develop new drugs?” And I say, “No, we are going to cure cancer – the plague of the 21st century – in our lifetimes.”  It is that significant.  What we are doing is that big.

Even now, patients are alive because of the therapies that LLS has helped fund. Google “Gleevec” for an example of a powerful drug. Some of these therapies “target” cancer cells and leave healthy cells alone. Some bolster the body’s own immune system to fight the cancer cells. Some even make the body’s immune system smarter about how it fights cancer cells. And now, there is talk about cancer “vaccines.” These are exciting times for treatments and it is going to take work, positive “toward” motivations and, of course, money.

I hope you can hit the “Donate Now” button which will take you to the LLS official page and help us fund this research. I also hope you can join us for some of our events during the next ten weeks. I hope to see you in “motion” to dismiss cancer.

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