LLS Teams Up with SAGERSTRONG Foundation To Fight Blood Cancers
(Washington, D.C., May 3, 2017) – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and the SAGERSTRONG Foundation announced yesterday they are teaming up to raise funds to fight blood cancers, the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States. Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS president and CEO, and Stacy Sager, president of the SAGERSTRONG Foundation, jointly made the announcement at an LLS-sponsored event in Washington, D.C., “Leading the Way to Cancer Cures.”
“Craig Sager was a friend and supporter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, and the many patients and caregivers he touched through our programs,” noted DeGennaro. “We are so pleased to partner with Craig’s widow Stacy Sager to honor Craig’s legacy of dedication to cancer patients. Craig’s courage, perseverance and passion inspired us all.”
Stacy Sager added, “LLS was always supportive of Craig and our family as we dealt with his cancer diagnosis and treatment. Craig was passionate about sharing his heartfelt message of faith and hope to other cancer patients, as he believed he was fighting for everybody who has cancer now and for those in the future. He didn’t want to see another family go through what our family had.”
Craig Sager, a Turner Sports broadcaster and NBA Sideline Reporter, known for his colorful suits and ties, with a personality to match, passed away in 2016 after a long battle with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a devastating blood cancer which has been an important focus of LLS’s research. Sager passed away on Dec. 15, 2016 after a rare third stem cell transplant on Aug. 1, 2016. Just five months before his death he received the Jimmy V Perseverance ESPY Award from Vice President Joe Biden. Sager also received the “Broadcaster Hall of Fame Award” two days prior to his passing, and he will be inducted into the “Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame” in Sept. 2017, in Springfield, MA. Sager is also a nominee for the “Sideline Reporter Sports Emmy” at the Annual Sports Emmy Awards, on May 9, 2017.
Despite advances in treating other blood cancers, the standard of care for AML patients has not changed in 40 years. LLS is working to change that with its groundbreaking Beat AML Master Trial, launched last fall. The goal of the trial is to develop more precisely targeted drugs based on the individual patient’s genetic profile. Before Sager lost his heroic battle with cancer, he was very supportive of LLS’s efforts to end AML. For more information on LLS’s Beat AML Master Trial, click here.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.
About the SAGERSTRONG Foundation
The mission of the SAGERSTRONG Foundation is to give hope to those who need it most. Stacy and Craig Sager started the SAGERSTRONG Foundation in the hope that, one day, leukemia patients and their families will never have to go through the battle they have endured.
Contact: Linda Heaney
A week after receiving the Jimmy V Perseverance ESPY Award, presented by Vice President Biden, where he delivered an emotional speech about his cancer battle, NBA Sideline Reporter Craig Sager again exhibited his attitude as keynote speaker at The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Atlanta Blood Cancer Conference. Sager was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 2014. He announced this past march that his cancer is no longer in remission.
Speaking before hundreds of blood cancer patients, survivors, caregivers, family members and healthcare professionals, Sager spoke about the importance of faith and hope. When told of his terminal cancer diagnosis, Sager says he couldn’t imagine what it would do to his spirit, but found it summoned “the greatest appreciation of life possible. I’ve been able to touch people’s lives in ways I never dreamed possible, and my battle has now become our battle.” Sager feels he is fighting for everybody who has cancer and for those in the future. “Because none of us want to see another family go through what our families have endured,” he said.
Dr. Louis DeGennaro, LLS president and CEO, presented Sager with LLS’s Dr. William Dameshek award. Dr. Dameshek was a giant in blood cancer research; in 1946 he helped pioneer what was widely considered the first anti-cancer chemotherapy, and he served on LLS’s National Board. According to Dr. DeGennaro, “The Dameshek Award, established in 1969, recognizes an organization or public figure who has aided LLS in helping focus national attention on the blood cancers.” DeGennaro thanked Sager for sharing his cancer journey with his fans and the general public. “You have provided hope and encouragement, and become an inspiration for so many.”
To highlight his message of hope, Sager recalled a Doris Day song from his youth. With a chuckle, he began singing “He’s got high hopes, he’s got high hopes, he’s got high apple pie, in the sky hopes” as the audience sang along