The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society- Team In Training
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) was born out of a family's grief following the death of their teenage son.
Robert Roesler de Villiers (left), son of a well-to-do New York family, was only 16 when he quickly succumbed to leukemia in 1944. Five years later, frustrated by the lack of effective treatments for what was then considered a hopeless disease, parents Rudolph and Antoinette de Villiers started a fundraising and education organization in their son's name.
Headquartered in a small Wall Street office, the Robert Roesler de Villiers Foundation had only a few volunteers and a tiny budget. The task was daunting. Most leukemia patients, especially children, died within three months. Even by the mid-1950s, when the first-generation chemotherapy drugs began appearing, the disease remained a stubborn challenge. The Foundation reported in its 1955 annual report: "As of this date, Leukemia is 100% fatal. This is almost a unique situation among the many diseases to which man is susceptible."
Driven by the de Villiers' nearly boundless belief that leukemia and other blood cancers were indeed curable, the Foundation grew steadily, opening its first chapters in the New York City area. The organization, after changing its name to The Leukemia Society, was renamed The Leukemia Society of America in the 1960s to communicate a broad, national reach.
Team In Training (TNT), an LLS premiere fundraising campaign, began in 1988, when Bruce Cleland of Rye, NY formed a team that raised funds and trained to run the New York City Marathon in honor of Cleland's daughter Georgia, a leukemia survivor.
The team of 38 runners raised $322,000 for LLS's Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter. Because of the pioneering efforts of Cleland and the Westchester/Hudson Valley Chapter, Team In Training was born and has grown into the world's largest endurance sports training program. Cleland was honored by Runner's World magazine in 2004 as one of their "Heroes of Running" for his role in establishing TNT.
Join the more than 40,000 runners, walkers, cyclists, hikers and triathletes who will participate in the world's major marathons, triathlons, hiking adventures and century rides this year on behalf of LLS. Fill out our online Tell Me More form for more details.