The Afternoon News with Kitty O'Neal

The Afternoon News with Kitty O'Neal

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LLS $50 Million Children''s Initiative and a Jesuit Student Ambassador

Listen: Jenaye Shepherd, LLS Greater Sacramento Executive Director

Kelly and son Garrett Heisinger

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has launched The LLS Children’s Initiative, a $50 million multi-year endeavor to find new cures and care for children.

LLS recently announced it has more than doubled its funding of research focused specifically on childhood blood cancers, adding 20 new research grants valued at more than $13.8 million to its research portfolio in 2019. With these new grants, LLS now has committed more than $25 million over a five-year period to change fundamentally how children with blood cancers are treated. Further, LLS also supports grants that are relevant to adolescent and young adult cancer patients.

The new pediatric grants are part of The LLS Children’s Initiative, a $50 million comprehensive attack on children’s cancer from every angle, from new research investment to advance novel therapies and bolster clinical trials, to enhanced services and support for children and their families, to renewed policy efforts. LLS is also planning an unprecedented global precision medicine clinical trialfor children with acute leukemia as part of the initiative.

Children are among the most vulnerable and underserved of patients in terms of cancer research and drug development. Blood cancers account for more than 40 percent of all childhood cancers, and more than 5,000 children are diagnosed every year. And yet, while treatments for adult cancers have advanced dramatically in recent decades, progress in pediatric treatment has lagged behind.

16-year-old Garrett and his family from Fair Oaks know all too well how a blood cancer diagnosis can shatter your whole world. After being diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) in 2013, he endured chemotherapy and lumbar punctures for three years, which lead to a multitude of side effects including hair loss and sickness, on top of missing a year of school. The Heisinger’s reached out to the LLS Greater Sacramento Area Chapter where they were able to connect with other families going through a similar battle. Today, Garrett is cancer-free but the Heisinger’s continue to fight blood cancer by volunteering with LLS to support the mission so no other family has to go through what they did.

Learn more about the LLS mission, volunteer and get involved with a fundraising campaign or donate to LLS directly. Join the fight this September, visit to learn more. Beating cancer is in our blood.

LLS Interview

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