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Team YOLO Gives Cancer Patients A Fighting Chance

Approximately every 10 minutes, someone in the United States dies from blood cancer. This statistic represents nearly 152 people each day or more than six people every hour and accounts for nearly 10% of all cancer-related deaths. 

John P. Billiter, a Financial Advisor and Portfolio Manager with UBS Financial Services and longtime resident of Raleigh, North Carolina, has announced his candidacy for the 2015 Man of the Year Campaign to benefit the North Carolina Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. I’m truly honored to serve as his campaign manager and Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) for this cause and as a way to show my support for my father who is suffering from cancer.

His campaign, Team YOLO (you only live once) wants to “give everyone a fighting chance.” The local campaign officially kicks off at midnight March 5 and runs through May 16 to raise money for lifesaving blood cancer research and patient support services.

Here’s his story:

“My father – one of the men I admire most in my life – fought the fight for three years, six months and 17 days. He sought a second opinion, got treatment at four hospitals, underwent both chemotherapy and radiation, completed a bone marrow transplant and was even told he was in remission.  Complications with Leukemia caused his death December 17, 1997. He was only 51 years old, married, the father of two of us and yet to be a grandfather of the four children my brother and I now have,” says Billiter. “Now it’s my turn to fight for the memory of my father and to give the thousands of people who live with, and are diagnosed with blood cancer each year, a fighting chance for a cure.”

A retired veteran of the U.S. Army, John Paul Billiter was exposed to agent orange, one of the herbicides and defoliants used by the U.S. military as part of its herbicidal warfare program, Operation Ranch Hand,[1] during the Vietnam War from 1961-1971. Oncologists suspect this to be the root cause of his blood cancer.

“I was watching the OJ Simpson chase June 17th, 1994 when I got that dreaded call,” says Billiter. “Dad was working out on his rowing machine when his left knee pained greatly. Doctors discovered afterward a fragile femur bone that had crushed during the exercise. Abnormal Protein Cells were found in testing and was subsequently determined to be Multiple Myeloma.” He, nor his loved ones, ever gave up hope. Today, I want to raise at least $100,000 to help save lives, find a cure and can link our fundraising to an LLS-funded research portfolio in honor of my father.”

The mission of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services to help blood cancer patients live better, longer lives.

I welcome your support and look forward to sharing more with you soon.