"To Protect and Save Lives" is the forefront mission for Elbit Systems of America and employees alike. Taking this mission to heart, 13 employees recently embarked on a once in a lifetime experience to raise awareness and funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Their task; climb the world’s tallest free-standing mountain: Mount Kilimanjaro, with an altitude of 19,431 ft.
Each of the 13 hikers had their own personal reasons and experiences that influenced their decision to take on this admirable task to benefit LLS. One such volunteer; Spencer Lovette, Program Manager for KMC Systems - an engineering and contract manufacturing firm for medical devices, a subdivision of Elbit Systems of America.
On the 10-day climb up and down Mount Kilimanjaro, the team's perseverance was ultimately tested. Between the steep slopes and acclimating to significant altitudes and suffering from possible altitude sickness, this hike is a challenge in and of itself. So why do they take it on? As Spencer states, "to fulfill a commitment, both to my team and myself."
Finding a cure for leukemia is especially close to the heart for Spencer as his own mother passed away from leukemia when Spencer was just 16 years old. His mother, Joyce Lovette was a vibrant and successful attorney.
As Spencer explains, "I am driven to help cure leukemia to spare others from having their lives cut short, to save children from losing their parents and parents from losing their children. No one should share my experience with leukemia."
Additionally, Lovette points out, "Leukemia research has advanced immensely in the the past 40 years. The overall five-year relative survival rate for leukemia has more than quadrupled since 1960. In the 60's the survival rate was 14 percent. Now the survival rate is over 63 percent."
Climb for a Cure
Given the immense breakthroughs in research and technologies, Spencer believes that if diagnosed today, his mother would have survived. He is also quick to point out in 2009-2013, leukemia was still the fifth most common cause of cancer deaths in men and the sixth most common in women. While other cancer cures may be further away, the medical community believes that the cure for leukemia may be the closest. It may be cured in the next 10 years.
Elbit Systems of America's goal was to raise $13,000. They successfully surpassed that goal and impressively raised over $44,000, which will directly benefit the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!
* The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is at the forefront of the fight to cure cancer. We are the largest nonprofit dedicated to creating a world without blood cancers. Since 1949, we’ve invested more than $1.2 billion in groundbreaking research, pioneering many of today’s most innovative approaches.
* Information provided by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society