Every year we recognize a few individuals whose stories have inspired us to keep working hard in the search for a cure for blood cancer.
Egan, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Egan was diagnosed at just 2 months with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) back in 2012! Because of LLS and the research we help fund it shortened the number of rounds of chemotherapy that Egan had to endure during her treatment. Her name is Gaelic for “Little Fire”. During her treatment her parents called her Egan the Dragon Slayer. Every year on the day of her diagnosis her parents give her a new dragon. She enjoys swimming, playing soccer and Mario Cart with her 2 siblings John & Maggie.
Jeremiah, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia
Jeremiah is a survivor, twin brother, know for his big smile. He was 4 years old when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) on March 1, 2018 and will finish his treatment this June! He has helped his family and people he meets a stronger version of themselves due to his positive attitude throughout his treatment.
Marcus Ware, Hodgkin's Lymphoma
Marcus Ware was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma on March 14, 2018. Originally from Roanoke, AL, he has spent the last 17 years in Washington, DC and works in higher education. He has founded a Leadership Academy, Mentor for the Boys Institute at Stanton Elementary as well as serving on multiple boards and associations. Marcus is passionate about leadership development and finding a cure. He has integrated both parts by leading his Leadership Academy to raise over $12,515 for Light The Night and leads his own team, Ware's Warriors who have raised over $28,000. He continuously serves as an inspiration for cancer fighters and allies!
Billy, B-Cell Lymphoma
Billy was diagnosed with diffuse large b-cell lymphoma in April of 2021. He faced the diagnosis with a no-nonsense and "we'll beat this" attitude. Amazingly, Billy reached 90% remission just three months later. As Billy, a three-time World’s Fastest Bartender, wraps up his treatment, he sums his experience up this way: "I’ve always been a fighter. Nothing can prepare you for the fight of your life when the doctor says, ‘It’s cancer’. But now I’m in the fight and I’m going to not only win, but I’m also going to fight for the others fighting with me.”
Rhonda, Acute Myeloid Leukemia
Rhonda is a wife, mother, sister and 2 year survivor of AML. Light The Night brightens her spirit. She states that Light The Night, “gave hope, and a feeling of not being alone. At a time when I was really feeling down about my prognosis. It brought me so much joy to participated. It lifted my spirit to see and know people with blood cancer have not been forgotten in the fight for a cure.” Light The Night creates a community, because no one should beel alone when you or a loved one hears the words, you have cancer. As Rhonda gracefully puts it,” I found LLS, my family found LLS” and we continue to grow this family.
Eilidh appeared to be a healthy four-year-old, but leukemia was beginning to ravage her bone marrow. Intensive treatment began immediately and lasted for 28 months. She is now a healthy, strong, and beautiful seven-year-old! Eilidh is hopeful for the day she will be told she is cured of cancer. She cares deeply for her friends, loves her family, and enjoys playing with her dolls. Eilidh and her family are thrilled to partner with LLS because they fight for cures with the same intensity as Eilidh.
2021 Mid-Atlantic Region Remembered Heroes
Kory was sixteen years old when he went home to be with the Lord. Kory was born in Fort Washington, MD and lived in Clinton, MD with his parents Cindy and Anthony Coates. Kory is also remembered with love by his stepbrother, sister, and three nieces. Kory was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) at just twelve years old. In the face of fighting cancer, Kory challenged himself to continue his education and while under the instruction of the home and hospital education department, he impressively advanced to the next grade level with high honors. To celebrate his efforts and commitment to his education, he was inducted to the National Junior Honor Society. Through everything he showed so much perseverance and determination. Kory will be greatly missed, but his inspiration to others will live on.
Tom was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) in 2000 at age 51. The first question he asked the doctor was “How long do I have?” The doctor told him he wouldn’t be alive in 5 years. From that point on his goal was to live more than 5 years. He was gregarious, charismatic, never met a stranger he didn't get along with, and had a way of making everyone feel special.
Like other cancer patients, my Tom went through painful bone marrow biopsies and chemo treatments. He lost his hair and gained weight. But through it all, he was a fighter. He went into remission twice, and the third time the cancer came back, he started applying for every trial available. After multiple applications, calls, and conversations, Tom found an oncologist who gave him medication and tput him on a ventilator to give his body a chance to resr. The doctor then told him and his family that he would never come off of that ventilator, but Tom had other plans. Just three weeks later he came off of that ventilator, and another three weeks after that he walked out of that hospital!
Tom was forever grateful for the doctor who gave him more time. He wanted to get one of his favorite watches engraved with “Thanks for the extra time” and give it to him as a gift. Unfortunately, Tom passed away on April 25, 2006. His wife had the watch engraved and gifted it to his last oncologist. His grandson shares his name, and his granddaughter share his birthday, both of whom will serve as lasting legacies.
On December 26, 2018, at the much too young age of 8, Mark passed away 2 days after receiving a diagnosis of acute myeloid leukemia. What was thought to be a stomach bug turned out to be a parent’s worst nightmare. There were no fevers, and simply no other symptoms that would make them suspect cancer. An aggressive treatment was started immediately that day. Mark was known for being a sweet, smart, funny by his friends and family. This is a child who created a rotating schedule for his school bus so no one had to sit by themselves. Mark’s family continues to walk as team Mark’s Sharks to support LLS and hope that no one else endures this loss or pain.