YORK, Pa. — More than 54,000 people under the age of 20 are living with or are in remission from a blood cancer.
With September being Blood Cancer Awareness Month, FOX43 is shining a spotlight on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) and how one family says the nonprofit helped them get through a very challenging time.
Molly Corl was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma at the age of 15.
"All I noticed was a lump on the side of my neck and that's what caused me to go to the doctor," Corl said. "I had to go through five rounds of chemo in four months."
It wasn't the easiest time for the high schooler from Harrisburg, who was still rarely seen without a smile on her face and who proudly choose to celebrate her new, bald look.
"You do have days when you feel better and you can hang out with friends, but other days you just want to stay in bed," she said.
Her family found comfort from both their oncology team at Penn State Health Children's Hospital and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
"You feel very helpless in that situation so their research is incredibly important and their support was really wonderful," Molly's mom Niki said. "From the very beginning, they told us this was a curable cancer, so that became a mantra that we hung onto."
Since 1949, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has been the global leader in the fight against blood cancers, investing more than $1.3 billion in research. Since 2017, it has supported more than 85% of blood cancer treatments approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
LLS is described as an "unstoppable innovator, driving research worldwide to deliver next-generation breakthroughs and cures," according to the society's website. "From pioneering the first collaborative precision medicine clinical trial in a blood cancer to supporting the rise of CAR T-cell immunotherapies, LLS is an early adopter of the most cutting-edge treatment technologies and approaches."
Molly's fight against cancer even got her recognized by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as Central Pennsylvania's Girl of the Year.
Her mom says whatever you do, support each other.
"Try to stick tight as a family—it definitely brings you together in a way that you can't even imagine," Niki said.
Today, Molly is 17 and just days away from the one-year anniversary of entering remission. She goes for routine scans every three months and offers this advice for anyone else facing difficult times: "In the blink of an eye, your whole life could change, so definitely cherish every moment you have. Stay positive... just don't give up."
Every 180 seconds, someone in the United States is diagnosed with blood cancer, according to LLS. This Blood Cancer Awareness Month and beyond, LLS is inviting people around the world to give 180 seconds to the fight against these diseases. You can donate on the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's website.
To learn more about blood cancers and to get free education and support click here.