I’ve never written about the most important non-profit organization in my life—until now. Indeed, if it were not for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) I would not have a life at all. That is not an exaggeration.
I mention LLS now because this is the 10th anniversary of my leukemia diagnosis. On my birthday in 2002, I found out I had a rare and incurable blood cancer called chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). The treatment options at the time were not good, and I was likely to live, at most, only another eight years. However, just a few months before I got the bad news, the Food & Drug Administration had approved a new drug called Gleevec, the first of the so-called molecularly targeted therapies. That means the drug kills only the cancer cells without harming healthy cells. I started taking Gleevec and was almost back to normal within weeks. I still take that big orange pill every day. The result? My oncologist says I’m more likely to die with CML than of it.