In an attempt to raise money for cancer research, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team-In-Training program is sponsoring a marathon race in San Diego June 5.
“Our goal is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and other blood-related diseases, as well as improve the lives of patients and their families,” said Tom Stafford, campaign manager for the San Fernando Valley Team-In-Training program. “We do this by raising awareness and funds.”
The marathon race, named Rock n’ Roll Marathon consists of either a 26.2- or 13.1-mile walk or run. The race will start at 6:30 a.m. at the west end of Balboa Park.
The society raised $4.1 million at last year’s event, and has set a goal for this year of $5.1 million, Stafford said.
“To date, The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has raised over $500 million for cancer research, patient services and education outreach (since it started in 1986),” Stafford said.
Leukemia, Hodgkin’s Disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and myeloma are cancers that originate in the bone marrow or lymphatic tissues. They are related because they involve the growth of cells with similar functions.
The diseases result from genetic injury to the DNA of a single cell, which becomes abnormal and multiplies. Lymphoma is named for a group of cancers that originate in the lymphatic system, and result when a lymphocyte (a type of white blood cell) changes abnormally and multiplies.
Mary Schaffer, CSUN cinema and television arts professor, is participating in the 26.2-mile walk.
“This is the first marathon that I’ve ever done,” Schaffer said. “I’ve always wanted to do one. I have heard about the program for several years through mailers. I realized I could do (the marathon) for leukemia and lymphoma.”
Schaffer has pledged to raise $2,100, one of the set amounts for the foundation.
“It’s been an easy fundraiser,” Schaffer said. “People just offer (donations). I raised it all within one month. I sent out letters to friends about what I was doing, and I talked to people.”
Schaffer’s father died of cancer 18 years after being diagnosed.
“If we can find a cure for one type of cancer, it will help all cancer research,” Schaffer said. “Cancer research is important to me, as well as (to) my health. (I will feel) jubilant that (I will have) actually done it.”
Rona Dhruv, senior business major, will also be participating in the event.
“I feel really good (about participating),” Dhruv said. “The money (I am raising) is going toward research.”
Dhruv said she was moved to participate in the event because of the cancer-related deaths of two people she has known.
A high school friend was diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia one month before her college graduation, and passed away in November 2004. Her cousin’s sister-in-law also passed away last year.
“(You) think about what you can do,” Dhruv said.
Dhruv is also participating in the 26.2-mile run in the San Diego marathon. She said she has raised $1,500 of her $2,100 donation in less than three months.
To accomplish this, she has written letters, sent e-mails, and has done some fundraising at local restaurants in the area.
“This run is for a really good cause,” said Anna Alexander, alumna of business economics from UC Riverside who is also participating. “It’s also about accomplishing a (personal) goal.”
Alexander’s father died a year ago from esophageal cancer, she said.
“I felt hopeless when my dad died last year, and it gave me a reality check,” said Alexander. “It’s the best feeling (to make a difference). It could actually happen to anyone, at any time.”