(Murfreesboro, TN) A Riverdale High School senior is honoring her older brother who is a Hodgkin's Lymphoma survivor, by campaigning to raise funds and awareness for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and support all blood cancer patients.
Around this time last year, Kate Lile and others were overwhelmed with news of her brother Aaron receiving the devastating diagnosis of Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The diagnosis came at a time when most young adults are excited about life, overwhelmed with college and ready to begin their walk into adulthood. But for Aaron, turning 21 was more than likely a birthday he'd prefer to forget, or perhaps have a do-over.
The decisions made by most people on their 21st birthday usually revolves around deciding what to do, who to hang out with, where to go, or any other list of things that one could legally do at their 21st milestone. Truth be told, Aaron was more than likely not thinking about anything that others would typically be thinking about when they hit 21. Instead, Aaron was faced with the decision to start his first round of chemotherapy.
Hodgkin's Lymphoma is a cancer that impacts the lymphatic system, which is where the body fights away germs as it's part of the immune system. During the battle, white blood cells called lymphocytes grow in huge numbers, causing swollen lymph nodes. When diagnosed in the advance stages, most patients have a strong chance to make a full recovery. When caught in the late stages, the survival rate drops drastically day-by-day.
In the United States, the American Cancer Society estimates there will be 8,830 new Hodgkin Lymphoma cases in 2023. The organization also reports there will be at least 900 deaths caused by the cancer.
For Aaron, an early diagnosis equaled a positive transition from 4-months of chemo, to being eligible to take part in a clinical trial called immunotherapy. Six months later, he rang the bell. The sound of the bell symbolized the closing of one chapter and the start of another. Maybe for Aaron, the chance to re-do his 21st, but with the wisdom one could only gain by undergoing a life changing diagnosis.
Today, Aaron's sister Kate is in week two of a 7-week student fundraising competition called the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society(LLS)Student Visionary of the Year Campaign. Part of her effort celebrates her brothers birthday with an online initiative seeking $22 donations from individuals in honor of Aaron's 22nd birthday this week.
Kate will participate in other fundraising events including an upcoming event at Buddy's Place in Nashville on Saturday, February 25. The overall campaign will end on March 5th.
Aaron fought and beat Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and throughout 2022, LLS provided patient support for him. In 2023, Kate and her family are now using this platform to support LLS. Using the LLS link HERE, type $22 in the “other” line, and follow the instructions for donating.