The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Helps Patients Stick with Treatment Regimens through Financial and Other Support

By mitigating some of the financial burdens, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society helps patients better stick to treatment regimens.
BY BETH FAND INCOLLINGO @fandincollingo
PUBLISHED: OCTOBER 21, 2016
By the time Jackie Pryor learned about her cancer, it had already spread to her lungs.

It was stage 4 anaplastic large cell lymphoma, and it was threatening her life.

Diagnosed in 2008 at the age of 29, Pryor fought the disease through initial treatment, and then through three relapses. She didn’t need anything else to worry about, but she got that anyway in 2014, when her illness and its treatments, including chemotherapy, forced her to leave her job as an elementary school counselor and go on disability.

That was painful not only emotionally, but financially, as it eliminated a good chunk of Pryor’s income. Since her diagnosis, another portion of her salary had been dedicated to the medical expenses her health insurance didn’t cover. Meanwhile, her regular bills continued to roll in. As a single person, Pryor didn’t have anyone else in her household to help fill the gaps.

Luckily, a year earlier, the nonprofit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society — the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services — had launched a copay assistance program to help eligible patients with cancer to afford their health insurance premiums and medication copays. Pryor applied and, based on her income, her diagnosis and the fact that she had health insurance, received financial assistance from the LLS throughout her entire period of treatment, from 2008 through December 2014.

She used the money toward chemotherapy treatments, cancer-related prescription medications and health insurance premiums. Now that she has no evidence of disease — but with plans to resume her career still ahead of her —the funding continues to help pay for her premiums, which ensure that she gets quarterly monitoring for cancer recurrence, as well as treatment for the long-term effects of a bone marrow transplant.

“I feel so immensely blessed to have access to this type of support,” Pryor says. “LLS is offering survivors tangible support that might otherwise be unavailable to us. Personally, I am able to balance a meaningful lifestyle, despite being on long-term disability income — approximately 60 percent of my salary from when I was employed. I see the difference in what I am able to do for myself in maintaining my household. The support I receive from the copay assistance program relieves some of the stress associated with making it from one month to the next.”

People like Pryor were exactly who LLS had in mind when it created the program, which helps more than 18,000 patients each year and provided over $43 million for patients in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2016.



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