By Jacob Meyer, Communications Intern
The Elbit America workforce are proud donors and advocates for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and the organization’s important work supporting blood cancer patients and advancing blood cancer research. Even in the face of an unprecedented health crisis and significant economic hardship, LLS has continued its research funding and financial aid for patients.
The financial costs of cancer can be insurmountable. In its annual impact report, LLS explained that for many patients, even social security and Medicare recipients, out-of-pocket medical expenses can exceed income. This causes 42 percent of cancer patients to deplete their entire savings and assets after just two years of treatment. Furthermore, 45 percent of cancer patients with costs that exceed $2,000 end up abandoning prescription medicine treatments and a similar number are forced to cutback spending on everyday items like food and clothing.
LLS seeks to ensure access to blood cancer treatments and help break down the financial barriers that stand between patients and much-needed care. In 2020, the organization’s signature Co-Pay Assistance Program provided approximately 22,250 patients with more than $131 million in financial support.
Additionally, the organization operates the Patient Financial Aid Program, Urgent Need Program, and Susan Lang Pay-It-Forward Travel Assistance Program to provide stipends and grants to thousands of blood cancer patients to offset costs and cover other non-medical expenses.
When the pandemic began, LLS addressed the unique challenges it poses for blood cancer patients by launching the COVID-19 Patient Financial Aid Program within just three weeks of the declaration of National Emergency. In 2020, the program provided more than $4.8 million in assistance to nearly 20,000 patients.
LLS programs are particularly active in many of the states Elbit America calls home. Between Alabama, New Hampshire, Texas and Virginia, nearly 8,000 patients received more than $25 million in support in 2020 alone.
Additionally, employees at a number of Elbit America locations actively participate in LLS programs to fundraise and advance the organization’s cause.
“Elbit America has participated with LLS on many campaigns over the years – Big Climb, Links Fore Leukemia and others,” Penny O’Donnell, a Fort Worth-based employee, explained. “We are a national partner for Light the Night, making it our largest campaign focus. The company and its employees donate and raise funds totaling $250,000 each year for this effort. Donations are made through the payroll deduction plan, and by purchasing parking spaces. Other fundraising events in past years included March Madness Corn Hole tournaments, Bass Fishing and Bowling tournaments, and gift basket and silent auctions. Many employees also work as volunteers at some of the LLS-sponsored events in their local areas.”
For some Elbit America employees, their efforts to support LLS’s cause is personal. April Killoran from Merrimack Operations was involved with LLS even before she worked at Elbit America.
“My sister was diagnosed with childhood leukemia, so I witnessed how devastating cancer can be to families,” Killoran said. “I hope to continue to help raise money for LLS to find better treatments for children and others who face this type of challenge. I know that LLS helps families in other ways as well, and I cannot imagine facing similar challenges with my son without the support of LLS. This is why I continue to help raise funds.”
In addition to its direct financial support of patients, LLS is the largest non-profit funder of blood cancer research. The organization invested $186 million into research in 2020, including $63 million in the New England region, $32 million in Texas, $3 million in Virginia and $2.9 million in Alabama.
The goal of the organization’s research funding is to facilitate the development of treatments and ultimately find the cures for various forms of blood cancer.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a non-profit organization and entirely donor funded. To learn more about the organization or make a contribution, visit: www.lls.org.