The organization was founded in Toronto in 1955 by five women concerned with the lack of focus on leukemia research. They raised money for research and at first sent it to the City of Hope Hospital in California. The first provincial charter for the City of Hope Leukemia Fighters was issued in 1957. The focus of the group changed to Canadian research and funds raised were directed to Canadian hospitals.
In 1965, the official name was changed to Toronto Leukemia Fighters. This was also the first year all monies raised were donated to Mount Sinai Hospital, which invested heavily in leukemia and related blood disorders. For the next 10 years, all funds raised went to Mount Sinai (over $400,000).
In 1972, the organization's name changed again to the Leukemia Research Fund. In 1983, another organization with a similar mission, the Crusade Against Leukemia, amalgamated with the Leukemia Research Fund. The organization expanded outside Toronto over the next few years. The Honourable Bob Rae suggested an alliance with United Food and Commercial Workers Canada (UFCW), whose charity of choice up until that point was the Leukemia Society of America. UFCW Canada has been our largest single supporter ever since. Leukemia Research Fund of Canada (LRFC) became a federally registered charity in 1992.
July, 2004, saw the affiliation with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in the United States, formerly the Leukemia Society of America. The two organizations have the same mission, so it was a natural fit. The LLS in the US was involved not only with funding research, but also with providing support to patients and their caregivers. Patient services were added to the Canadian mandate with the affiliation. The LRFC changed its name to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC) as of July 1, 2004. While the two organizations are affiliated, the LLSC is a separate entity and is a registered charity in Canada, focused on funding Canadian research and supporting Canadians in need as they go through their cancer journey.