Leading Blood Cancer Charities & Organizations

Advocacy Groups for Those Touched by Leukemia, Lymphoma & Myeloma

The blood cancers—leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma—may not be as high-profile as some other types of cancer. Nevertheless, there are several charities and advocacy groups that support the blood cancer community almost exclusively. In addition, some of the organizations that engage in general cancer advocacy, such as The American Cancer Society, have excellent sub-sections devoted to leukemia and lymphoma.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Light the Night

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, or LLS, may be the most highly visible leukemia and lymphoma advocacy organization around. Founded in 1949, LLS funds blood cancer research, education and patient services, and it ranks on the Forbes List of the 100 largest U.S. charities.

Even people who are relatively uninitiated into the blood cancer community may recognize the annual fundraiser event that is put on by the various chapters of LLS, known as “Light the Night.” Light the Night is an event that occurs at different times of the year in different communities.

Often, however, it is planned from September to November in North America and timed to coincide with earlier evenings that are ushered in with the fall season. Participants raise money for LLS leading up to the Light the Night Walk in which they carry different colored lanterns to signify survivorship and/or loss of a loved one.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team In Training, or TNT, is another avenue to explore for giving back, especially if endurance training for charity strikes your fancy. When it comes to fitness training, many of us need to tap in to all of the motivation we can muster.

Maybe that's why Team In Training by LLS is such a successful program. Not only do you have the built-in discipline of any good fitness training program, but you also have something that counts for a bit more—giving to those in need. There is something for everyone, whether its running, walking, cycling, climbing, or competing in a triathlon.

LLS highlights its successes as follows: “To date, LLS has invested more than $1 billion in research to advance therapies and save lives. LLS research grants have funded many of today’s most promising advances, including targeted therapies and immunotherapies. Sustained research investments are fueling an explosion of innovative science and clinical successes. New safe and effective treatments, once unimaginable, are saving lives today.”

St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital

Leukemia is the most common malignancy among children. If childhood cancer is near and dear to your heart, then St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital should probably be among the charities you consider supporting. This organization has received stellar marks for accountability and transparency, and its financial ratings were above average as well, according to Charity Navigator.

The mission of St. Jude Children's Research Hospital is to find cures for children with cancer and other catastrophic diseases through research and treatment.

One of the more endearing events on the cancer charity fundraiser scene involves the little tikes themselves and furious peddling. If you have children in the pre-school age range, the St. Jude Trike-A-Thon is an event that raises money for the cause, but also allows the kids to have fun and be involved in helping others in their very own age group. If you are interested in organizing a trike-a-thon at your child’s preschool or daycare, visit St. Jude’s on the Web and you can find contact information to get you started.

The Leukemia Research Foundation

If your interest is in advancing leukemia research and helping today's patients and their families, one charity to consider is the Leukemia Research Foundation. This charity is dedicated to conquering blood cancer by funding research into their causes and cures and enriching the lives of those touched by these diseases. The Leukemia Research Foundation supports leukemia research in both adults and children.

Of note, the Leukemia Research Foundation recently received “four stars,” the highest rating possible from Charity Navigator. The organization had stellar transparency, accountability, and financial scores, too.

The Leukemia Research Foundation has more than 1,500 volunteers organized in 24 fundraising chapters. They provide patients with educational resources, emotional support, and financial assistance. They also fund research throughout the world. Moreover, The Leukemia Research Foundation has relentlessly dedicated itself to finding a cure, raising more than $70 million in support of its mission.

The Lymphoma Research Foundation

The Lymphoma Research Foundation is the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted exclusively to funding innovative lymphoma research. It also provides up-to-date information about this type of cancer to people with lymphoma as well as healthcare professionals.

The Lymphoma Research Foundation’s mission is to eradicate lymphoma and serve those who have been touched by the disease. They also help patients with lymphoma navigate the unwieldily world of cancer subtypes, clinical trials, emerging therapies, and news in the field.

The Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation

Multiple myeloma, or sometimes just “myeloma,” is the third type of blood cancer, in addition to leukemia and lymphoma. Perhaps because it is the least common of the three blood cancers, it tends to get less attention—aside from former NBC news anchor Tom Brokaw's book about his experience with myeloma. Of course, though, myeloma gets pretty much the entire spotlight at the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation, or MMRF. So, if you are looking for a charity with stellar accountability, transparency, and financial scores, the MMRF is a very good bet.

The American Cancer Society

Though its mission is not specific to leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma, The American Cancer Society (ACS) nonetheless offers much to people whose lives have been touched by blood cancer. Its resources may be especially helpful to those who are in search of general educational information on a variety of different cancer topics.

This is one case in which the statistics from charity navigating tools may be a tad misleading. The ACS may not be the most streamlined or efficiency-optimized organization under the sun, especially when scored as an aggregate of all of its many divisions. But, its presence online—and specifically its ability to reach people with patient-friendly explanations of concepts that are common to many different cancers—represents quality and value that is difficult to capture in a charity navigator chart.

There are many different ways to give to a charity such as ACS. Relay For Life is the organization’s signature fundraiser, an event where team members take turns walking around a track or designated route. According to event organizers, each event is six to 24 hours in length and each team is asked to have a member on the track at all times to signify that cancer never sleeps. As they state, “Cancer patients don't stop because they're tired, and for one night, neither do we.”

Each team sets up a themed campsite at the event and continues their fundraising efforts by collecting donations for food, goods, games, and activities. Proceeds count towards their overall team fundraising goal.

Parents of middle schoolers may also be familiar with ACS-related field day activities:

Our Relay Field Day program brings Relay For Life to middle schools nationwide. It provides students, teachers and administrators the opportunity to become more engaged in their communities by celebrating people who have been touched by cancer, remembering loved ones lost and fundraising to support cancer programs and services locally and around the world. It allows students to get out of the classroom and have fun with entertainment and activities that reinforce cancer education and develop healthy behaviors that will reduce their cancer risk.

Other Great Resources

Many other groups promote awareness and provide valuable support and services to those whose lives have been touched by blood cancer. Here are just a few more to add to the list:

Be the Match

You may have heard of bone marrow transplants, also called hematopoietic stem cell transplants. For some patients with certain types of leukemia and lymphoma, a stem cell transplant, or bone marrow transplant, is the only hope for a cure.

That is where Be the Match comes in—it is a registry that keeps track of all the people willing to donate their stem cells in hopes of finding a match for someone in need of a bone marrow transplant.

National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)

For doctors, guidelines from the National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) are generally well known and frequently consulted. With regular updates on recommended cancer management, these treatment recommendations try to encapsulate the current state of medicine at a given moment in time for various cancer sites.

The NCCN has been working to provide similar guidelines for patients, with medical terms explained and geared to individuals affected by leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Patient and caregiver resources by the NCCN now include listings for different types of leukemia as well as Hodgkin lymphoma and various types of non-Hodgkin lymphoma.

A Word From Verywell

As you can see, even when you limit the scope to the charities and organizations that are most relevant to blood cancers, there are still many viable options that are eager to take donations. In recent years, charities have been increasingly scrutinized. People who give their hard-earned money to the greater good want to have some level of confidence that their donations are being put to good use. As such, a number of different charity navigator tools have been developed and are available on the web.

People value and look for different things in their preferred charities. So, you are encouraged to see how any of the organizations mentioned above measure up in terms of reflecting your values and specific interests. For instance, some people do not want to contribute to larger charitable organizations that have CEOs who receive very high amounts of compensation, while others are more willing to overlook such things if the organization is known for doing good work.

Likewise, if financial parameters are important to you, some charity profilers list information such as how many dollars each charity uses in order to raise a certain amount of funds that go directly to the charitable cause or recipients. These metrics can be compared from organization to organization.

Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.

By Tom Iarocci, MD
Tom Iarocci, MD, is a medical writer with clinical and research experience in hematology and oncology.