Law School Scholarship to Promote Blood Cancer Awareness created by The Law Office of Renkin & Associates

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September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, making it the perfect time to announce next year’s law school scholarship for survivors or family members affected by blood cancers.

“The diagnosis is devastating,” he said, “I know that first hand."

September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month, a national event to bring much needed attention to these disorders. That makes September the perfect time to announce next year’s law school scholarship for survivors or family members affected by blood cancers. The Law Office of Renkin & Associates is funding a $1,000 open scholarship for current or incoming law school students in an effort to both aid a deserving student and to increase public awareness that life doesn’t stop after the diagnosis.

Blood cancers are a group of related cancers affecting the bone marrow, where blood cells are formed, altering the production and function of these cells. Uncontrolled, cancerous growth of one type of blood cell overwhelms the system, leading to abnormalities. Patients lose the ability to respond to infections or clot normally.

Richard Renkin practices family law in the San Diego area and is a survivor of blood cancer. In 2013, Richard was diagnosed with lymphoma.

“In the midst of the chemotherapy, my doctors discovered my particular lymphoma would return sooner rather than later,” he said. “My doctors recommended an autologous stem cell transplant.” This treatment only became available after research and funding from charitable institutions focused on curing blood cancers.

Mr. Renkin was cancer-free less than a year later.

As part of the application for the Blood Cancer Awareness Scholarship, candidates are asked to submit a short essay describing how leukemia, lymphoma, or other cancers of blood-forming cells have shaped their life. “I know there are inspiring stories out there,” said Richard, “I hear them frequently from my work with my local charity.” (Richard has served with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Board of Directors and sponsored several fundraising events for the organization.) His concern is that public perception of blood cancers as untreatable and universally fatal stifles hope. “The diagnosis is devastating,” he said, “I know that first hand. But it simply isn’t true that cancer has to be an end point. And we need to be reminded by hearing from those who’ve continued on.”

Applicants for the scholarship must be entering or attending an accredited law school in the fall of 2015, with a current GPA of at least 3.0. They must be over 18 and a U.S. citizen. There is no restriction on location, and students anywhere in the nation are encouraged to apply. Details and a submission form can be found on the firm’s website. The deadline for submission is April 30th, 2015.

Leukemia, the most prevalent cancer in this class, accounts for about 3% of cancer deaths yearly. This makes it harder to generate public support. But there are many other types of blood cancers, and the American Society of Hematology lists more than 19 different patient support charities. It’s only when combined under the broader term, “blood cancers” that the true picture emerges. These diseases take many lives, leaving survivors to cope with the loss.

The diverse nature of blood cancers means no single treatment helps all cases. Without a large patient base for the individual diseases, there is little profit potential for drug companies. Consequently, a great deal of the scientific research is funded by charitable donations and grants made to researchers, especially at a time when federal funding is limited. Donations are also used to help educate patients and provide much needed financial help in the face of devastating treatment costs.

“There’s been incredible progress made in the last decade,” said Mr. Renkin. “With stem cells now available as a treatment, and other research avenues showing promise, it’s an exciting time to get involved.”

For media professionals:

References on Blood Cancer Awareness & Leukemia/Lymphoma Awareness

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