For over 26 years, AdvantEdge Business Centers has provided a personalized experience for clients in Washington, DC. That personal support and individualized attention carries over to their staff, who they take care of both inside and outside of the office.
AdvantEdge Sales and Marketing Associate Jillian Joseph is a non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma survivor, and when she approached her colleagues with the news that she was nominated for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s 2014 Man & Woman of the Year campaign, they jumped at the opportunity to help.
In August of 2003, I was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma called Burkitt’s Lymphoma. After multiple surgeries and months of intensive, experimental chemotherapy treatment at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, I returned to high school to complete my junior year. I have been in full remission since 2009.
I can say with confidence, if not for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s relentless efforts to cure blood cancers and improve the quality of life for patients and our families, I would not be here today. At the time of my diagnosis, doctors told my parents that the aggressive “chemo cocktail” regimen used to treat Burkitt’s was discovered by scientists in 1997 – only six years earlier. Between 1997 and 2003, the success rate for Burkitt’s patients dramatically increased, although the chemo protocol itself had yet to achieve FDA-approved status.
During my year spent in the Pediatric Oncology ward, my roommates were half my age. Sharing a room with these brave little people, seeing them get poked and prodded, hearing them cry out in pain, all the while knowing that they should be in school or playing soccer like normal 8 year-olds – it was heartbreaking. I vowed that one day when I was healthy, I would do something to help.
Now, over ten years later, I had an opportunity to give back to the organization that funded the research that saved my life. I cannot think of a better way to celebrate the five year anniversary of my remission (this coming August) than being a part of this campaign. I raised more money than I ever thought possible, and sharing my story has prompted others to open up and share their own.
As I mentioned earlier, none of my chemo was FDA approved in 2003 – which also meant it was not covered by insurance. My parents paid out-of-pocket for everything, and are still paying, to this day. When I learned that between 2000 and 2013, 40% of anti-cancer drugs were advanced to FDA-approved status directly because of LLS supported research, I knew I had to be a part of it. No parents should be put in the position of having to forego life-saving treatment for a child for financial reasons. That is one of the many reasons I spent every spare minute fundraising over the last 10 weeks, and it has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.
With the support of AdvantEdge Business Centers’ President and CEO, Prakash Gavri, my team raised $18,000 in two and a half months. AdvantEdge hosted social events at each location to support my campaign from happy hours to luncheons, utilizing event and conference room space at each location to share LLS’s mission with clients and friends. It’s impossible to express what it meant to have the support of my employer, colleagues and AdvantEdge’s extensive network of diverse clients – without whom I could not have raised half of my goal.
It was an indescribable experience that isn’t over for me - I plan to continue to volunteer until a cure is found and blood cancers are a distant memory.