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The fight continues!

Team Life Sabers

Three weeks ago, I posted a bit of information about the annual Man/Woman of the Year Campaign of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to raise funds for the battle against blood cancers. (See the original post here.) I am proud to be part of "Team Life Sabers" working with Stefanie Sarantopoulos, MD PhD to raise funds for LLS. In today's post, I want to tell you a bit more about Stef and the work she does. I am hoping that as you learn about Stefanie, you will consider supporting her campaign as well.
Jabba the Hutt joins us in the battle against blood cancers

First off, you may wonder about the origin of our team's name.

Stefanie's family and friends are also actively supporting our efforts, and her children made lots of origami Star Wars items to be worn by Stef and her team, and they've also loaned her their light sabers to serve as an emblem of what the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is trying to achieve: victory over cancer.

Stefanie is passionate about delivering quality care to her patients. Perhaps that explains why this couple came well over 1500 miles to receive treatment at Duke. They agreed to share their enthusiasm for Stefanie's work by appearing in this post so that you would be able to see someone who has benefited from her clinical expertise.
Nurses and CNAs prepare for a day of caring for our patients.
But although Stefanie has an active practice caring for patients being treated in Duke's Adult Bone Marrow Transplant Program, she is also actively involved in important clinical research. For although bone marrow and stem cell transplantation can be life-saving, it can also be life-altering.

Sometimes after a patient receives donor stem cells which successfully attack the cancer, the cells take their job a bit TOO seriously and begin to cause problems. In this situation, the patient can develop what we call graft versus host disease (GVHD).

Stef's lab goes to war against cancer and chronic GVHD.
In patients who develop GVHD, the donor's B lymphocytes begin to attack some of the patient's own tissues. Chronic GVHD symptoms range from dry, itchy eyes to stiff, inelastic skin, dry mouth, mouth sores, or perhaps chronic lung disease. Stefanie's work in the lab focuses on the prevention and cure of chronic graft versus host disease. Thus her focus is not only on curing cancer, but also on ensuring that patients have the best possible quality of life after transplant. Some of the work that she and her team perform in the lab is supported by grant money from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

I hope that this post and my previous one can help to illustrate how many people serve critical roles in helping to conquer cancer. Physicians and nurses may be the first people you think of, but the research which goes on in the lab, the organizations that fund this research, and those who donate to support this work, are also vital. And of course no one is as important as our patients.
Photos of some of our transplant survivors line the walls of the clinic and inpatient area

Perhaps you will consider donating to help the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Simply click the button below. If you cannot give a monetary donation, please donate a bit of your time to pray for their efforts, to pray for all those suffering from cancer, and to forward this link to others.

On behalf of Stef, Team Life Sabers, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and myself, thank you!
I support the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society!