Cancer Heroes

By Deanna McGill | Photography by Sarah Oden | Hair by Bridget Baltimore with Barbara/Jean | Jewelry from Sissy’s Log Cabin

   What is the body’s delivery system for all the essentials and also serves as the first line of defense? It cannot be substituted or synthesized in any way. Most people don’t consider the significant role it plays in life. Are you baffled yet? It’s your blood.

   Unfortunately it is often taken for granted – until there is a problem. When the blood is not balanced, the rest of the body doesn’t work properly. For nearly 30 years, Carla and Peter Emanuel have supported the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; the organization that works to improve the outcomes of blood-related cancers like leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is a leader in cutting-edge research as well as breakthroughs in immunotherapy, genomics and personalized medicine. Peter is a physician and researcher, helping patients with blood-cancers since 1991 and involved in leukemia research since 1986. His doctor’s oath as well as the family’s values are evident in their lives. “Community service is so important – to help those that need it without hesitation and with no questions – especially when you have been told you have cancer. It is so very frightening,” Carla elaborates.

   Carla and Peter both serve on the LLS Board of Directors as well as the leadership team that mobilize volunteers in Central Arkansas. It is an organization that utilizes a grassroots network – not only advocating for policies on a local level that benefit all cancer patients, but also organizing fundraisers. “We love LLS because of all the research it supports. All the money we raise stays here in Arkansas,” Carla adds. The Emanuels will welcome guests to this year’s Man & Woman of the Year Gala – a virtual event. It benefits from the involvement of 11 candidates who generate critical funding for life-saving research. Each representative has been affected in one way or another by a blood-related cancer – either as a patient, caregiver, friend or survivor. One woman and one man will be crowned the winners. Carla praises, “These candidates are the real heroes who work very hard.” While a cure for cancer remains a top priority, patients need help before, during and after diagnosis and treatment. Peter explains, “In 2020, LLS supplied $1.18 million for patient’s tangible needs: help with transportation, housing, prescriptions and education.” This translates into navigation of cancer treatment and more access to quality, affordable and coordinated care. Part of the patient-centered approach focuses on the healthcare gap in cancer outcomes that disproportionately impact under served populations: minority and rural communities.

   The Emanuels are proud to play a part of this complex solution – delivering the many resources that LLS provides to cancer patients – along with celebrating the blood-cancer superheroes of the Man & Woman of the Year Gala. While they will don formal wear at the gala, it is clear their capes are hanging in the closet at home.

Inviting Arkansas

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