The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada ramps up virtual support services and its peer support program to meet demand and lessen fear and anxiety for people affected by a blood cancer
Toronto, Ontario (September 1, 2021) – The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada (LLSC) – the single largest health agency dedicated to all blood cancers and a major funder of blood cancer research in the country – kicks off Blood Cancer Awareness Month today to announce that it’s ramping up its virtual support services to reflect the current reality and meet the needs of people with a blood cancer.
Recent research shows that being diagnosed with cancer is a traumatic experience and those affected by the disease often experience fear, anxiety, stress, sleep disturbances and post-traumatic stress disorder. In time of pandemic, the LLSC is leveraging technology to help people with a blood cancer feel understood, connected and supported every step of the way.
“The pandemic has been challenging for our community, and has made people feel like they’re alone in their blood cancer experience,” says Alicia Talarico, LLSC president. “More than ever before, Canadians continue to reach out to us for support in record numbers.”
Since March 2020, The LLSC is reporting a surge in demand in three key areas:
- Information on COVID-19 outbreak and vaccines
- Peer support
- Virtual support services
To meet the needs of the blood cancer community, the organization is ramping up its First Connection peer support program that matches those newly diagnosed with a peer support volunteer who has been through a blood cancer experience. The program is essential in helping those going through a blood cancer feel understood, encouraged and hopeful about the future.
LLSC is also actively working with infectious disease specialists and cancer care experts to deliver accurate and up-to-date information on COVID-19 outbreak and vaccines through its COVID-19 Resource Centre. The organization has also introduced virtual support groups so that Canadians can participate safely from the comfort of their home and feel less alone in their blood cancer experience. Those wishing to register in a virtual support group can contact a Community Service Manager in their area.
“At a time when so many organizations have scaled back their programs and services, we have been able to not only meet the needs of our community, but increase our service offerings,” says Talarico. “We’re urging Canadians to access our support services, which are available at no cost to those newly diagnosed, people who have a blood cancer and those navigating life after the disease.”
LLSC assists Canadians at every step of their blood cancer experience through information, resources, and critical programs and services. To date, the organization has also invested more than $40 million in blood cancer research to better understand the underlying causes of the disease, develop better therapies, and save more lives. Because of research, survival rates for those diagnosed with a blood cancer have doubled, tripled and in some cases, quadrupled since 1960.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada is the single largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancers in Canada. LLSC funds life-saving blood cancer research across the country, and provides information and support services free of charge to people affected by a blood cancer and their families. Our mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of Canadians affected by blood cancers.
For personalized disease, treatment or support information, contact our local support staff at 1-833-222-4884. Follow us on Facebook, Twitterand Instagram.