In 2009, after Kareem’s diagnosis with Philadelphia chromosome-positive chronic myeloid leukemia, (Ph+ CML), a slow progressing type of blood cancer1, he initiated a CML education program with Novartis Oncology to show people that they are not alone in fighting this disease. Now, Kareem and Novartis Oncology have partnered with The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) to create Team Kareem, a national team whose aim is to raise money for cancer research, through participation in LLS’s annual Light The Night® Walk.
Held on fall evenings in communities across the U.S., Light The Night Walk is LLS’s fundraising event to pay tribute and bring hope to people battling cancer. More than 250,000 people participate in these leisurely walks throughout the country to help raise funds for vital, lifesaving research. Kareem will participate in the walk at the Brooklyn Bridge in New York City on October 14th.
“I couldn’t believe it when I found out I had leukemia,” Kareem says. “But I was lucky. Thanks to life-saving research, I can take a medication every day to keep my cancer in check, and this gives me hope for the future. Please join my team so we can bring this hope to others by raising funds for this important cause.”
Team Kareem teams will be established in each of LLS’s U.S. chapters and members will fundraise and participate in walks in their own communities. Team members who meet certain fundraising goals will be eligible to win signed Kareem basketballs and other items.
“We are thrilled to have legendary basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar involved in our Light The Night Walk and I look forward to seeing him at the Brooklyn Bridge walk on October 14th,” said Nancy L. Klein, chief marketing and revenue officer of LLS. “Kareem’s message of hope is so inspirational and we anticipate that many of his fans will be eager to join the Team. To that end, he created a special video on the importance of signing up for Team Kareem, which you can view at www.lightthenight.org/TeamKareem.”
Kareem credits decades of research, assisted by funding from LLS, with leading to FDA-approved therapies that help him to manage his leukemia. Ph+ CML is characterized by an abnormality known as the Philadelphia chromosome, which produces a protein called Bcr-Abl, identified as the sole cause and driver of CML. Kareem encourages others living with Ph+ CML to regularly have their blood tested to know their Bcr-Abl score, and speak with their doctors to set a disease management goal2. He also encourages them to seek support from their peers via CML Earth, a social network dedicated to helping people affected by CML.
To learn more about Team Kareem or to join the Team, visit www.lightthenight.org/TeamKareem. To follow Team Kareem on Facebook, become a fan of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar – CML Patient and Advocate and the Light The Night Friends & Family fan pages.