By the time you finish reading this article, there’s a good chance another person in the U.S. will have been diagnosed with blood cancer.
That’s just one of the eye-opening statistics from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), which advocates for the estimated 1.4 million people in the U.S. who are either living with, or are in remission from, some form of blood cancer. And it’s just one of the reasons why, every September, team members across Walgreens join LLS in various efforts to fight this prevalent form of cancer during Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
Walgreens has been collaborating with and supporting LLS for several years. At its core, the relationship has been about providing education and resources for patients and their families who are living with diseases like leukemia, myeloma and lymphoma. This includes training and certification for some of our specialty pharmacists, so that they become specially qualified to work with blood cancer patients. Today, Walgreens has more than 75 LSS blood cancer-certified pharmacies.
Walgreens cancer-specialized pharmacies help patients access, afford and stay on their medication while also helping to successfully transition them into survivorship care. Our pharmacists and technicians also collaborate with other health care providers to help patients manage any medication side effects, and can assist in finding financial assistance options.
“Cancer care is shifting,” says Matt Farber, senior director of patient care and advocacy for oncology, fertility and multiple sclerosis, Walgreens. “In the last 10 years, we have seen an evolution in the number of oral therapies, especially for blood cancer. This makes the role of the pharmacists more critical, as patients are at home taking their medications and managing side effects without constant monitoring from their doctors and nurses.”
But it’s not just pharmacy care
Walgreens team members’ commitment to blood cancer patients and their families extends far beyond the certified pharmacies. Regional leaders have increased grassroots support for the cause, and last year, more than 6,500 Walgreens and Duane Reade stores participated in fundraisers that raised $2.6 million for LLS. Nearly 250 Walgreens teams around the country also participated in LLS “Light the Night” walks, raising an additional $187,000.
Farber believes personal and professional connections spark the company-wide commitment to LLS.
“Everyone has a connection to cancer – a lot of people are inspired by their own stories or team members they know,” he says. “And because our company has an ongoing relationship with LLS, we know it aligns with our values and culture. The local LLS chapters do a great job getting involved with our leaders on the regional level. They come into stores, personally thank the team members … it becomes a really engaging and rewarding experience for everyone.”