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Rye Brook, NY (April 21, 2021) – Thousands across the nation are stepping up to help defeat an adversary that has long plagued Americans — cancer. On May 15, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) will host its trailblazing event, Big Climb, from coast to coast.
Participants will virtually climb up the Columbia Center’s 61 stories in Seattle, WA, where the event originated 30 years ago, or can choose from 11 other designated landmark buildings across the country. Conquering the total number of steps can be done in few different ways:
- Stair climbing in your home, neighborhood, or community
- Strides by walking, jogging, or running
- Performing chair step-ups
No matter how individuals decide to climb, conquer, and cure, everyone can help raise funds to support LLS’s investment in groundbreaking research to advance blood cancer cures and its first-in-class patient education and services.
“LLS is up to the test, taking on the most complex challenges in the fight against blood cancers as we continue to reimagine the way we fundraise. This is a critical time for cancer patients, who face many new treatment and health hurdles associated with a global viral pandemic,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS President and CEO.
Big Climb connects a community of like-minded survivors, caregivers, supporters and volunteers who believe in a future free from blood cancer, including CBS’s Survivor Africa winner and reality TV star Ethan Zohn, who survived blood cancer twice and continues to advocate for the urgent need for cures.
“Hope aligned with science is all we need to eradicate this disease,” said Zohn. “No matter where you live, no matter what your connection to cancer may be, now you can help save lives and take cancer down by being a part of Big Climb.’’
In addition to personal inspiration, participants can climb in honor of local patients in their communities. Twenty-one-year-old Big Climb Honored Hero of LLS’s New Jersey Region, Molly Gorczyca, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of blood cancer called acute myeloid leukemia when she was a college sophomore. After enduring multiple rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, she remains healthy, although the devastating impact of cancer is far from over for Gorczyca. Her longtime boyfriend, who she met in treatment, 21-year-old Ryan Smith, recently died in March — just 20 months after his initial acute myeloid leukemia diagnosis in 2019.
“I am stepping up to take cancer down in honor of Ryan, who will forever be remembered for his relentless courage and huge heart,” said Gorcyca. “He was an incredible basketball star at East Strasbourg University, and his passing is a tragic reminder to us all that blood cancer does not discriminate – I will continue to fight blood cancer for Ryan and honor his legacy.”
All of LLS’s signature fundraisers have helped LLS invest more than $1.3 billion in cutting-edge blood cancer research worldwide, leading to breakthroughs in treatment. And, as the leading source of free blood cancer information, education, and support, LLS helps blood cancer patients through a wide range of free services, ranging from clinical trial navigation to one-on-one nutrition consultations to support programs like Myeloma Link, which aims to break down barriers and address the needs of underserved populations.
Registration for Big Climb is open to the public through May 15. To learn more, visit www.lls.org/big-climb.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is a global leader in the fight against cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has regions throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.