Cancer :: The leukemia & lymphoma society launches program to ease the return to school for children with cancer

Each year approximately 9,000 children and teenagers are diagnosed with cancer in the United States, with leukemia representing more than 30% of these cases. Thanks to research advances, the survival rate for the most common pediatric cancer, acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), has improved from a dismal 4 percent in the 1960s to more than 85 percent today. However, for children who survive cancer, the challenges continue long after the treatments are over.

Recognizing the need to help children return to school after treatment, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has introduced a new program, Welcome Back: Facilitating the Return to School for Children with Cancer, through a national partnership with the Lance Armstrong Foundation. A $68,000 grant from Regence will enable the Society to expand the program in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Utah.

Welcome Back: Facilitating the Return to School for Children with Cancer is an educational program for school personnel and nurses about childhood cancer, its treatment and late effects, the challenges cancer survivors face upon returning to school and throughout their time in school, the laws that protect childhood cancer survivors’ rights, and strategies to help meet the students’ short and long-term educational needs.

“Through its generous support of the Welcome Back program, Regence has become a major player in helping The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society reach its goal of assuring that all pediatric cancer survivors have the necessary school accommodations to achieve academic success,” said Charly Alegria, Patient Services Manager of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Idaho/Montana Chapter. “Hundreds of educators will be reached through the expansion made possible by their support and, in turn, hundreds of children will receive the support needed to be successful.”

As research continues for more effective and less toxic treatments for childhood cancer, healthcare professionals are becoming increasingly aware that children living with and beyond cancer will face additional challenges after the cure. Because of the intensity and duration of the treatments, parents and school personnel require significant education about the cancer treatment journey and also about the long-term effects of treatment on cognitive, social and psychological development.

This is where the Welcome Back program and companies like Regence can make a significant difference in the lives of pediatric cancer survivors.

“Regence is proud to partner with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to help childhood cancer survivors transition back into school,” said John Stellmon, president of Regence BlueShield of Idaho. “This gift reflects our commitment to helping children in our community live healthy, successful and productive lives. We are proud to help fulfill an unmet need in our community by giving childhood cancer survivors the tools they need to thrive in school.”

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society(R), headquartered in White Plains, NY with 66 chapters in the United States and Canada, is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. The Society’s mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since its founding in 1949, the Society has invested more than $424 million in research specifically targeting leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Last year alone, the Society made 2.5 million contacts with patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals.

For more information about blood cancer, visit or call the Society’s Information Resource Center (IRC), a call center staffed by master’s level social workers, nurses and health educators who provide information, support and resources to patients and their families and caregivers.

About Regence

Created in 1996, Regence is the largest health insurer in the Northwest/Mountain State Region, operating Blue Cross/Blue Shield plans in Oregon, Washington, Utah and Idaho. It includes Regence BlueShield of Idaho, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Utah and Regence BlueShield (in Washington). Through these plans, Regence provides health, life, vision and dental insurance to nearly three million members. Regence plans are not-for-profit, independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. More than one in three Americans have coverage from the Blues. For more information, visit

About the Lance Armstrong Foundation

The Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) inspires and empowers people affected by cancer. We help people with cancer focus on living; we believe that unity is strength, knowledge is power and attitude is everything. From the moment of diagnosis, the LAF provides the practical information and tools people with cancer need to live life on their own terms. The LAF serves its mission through advocacy, public health and research. Founded in 1997 by cancer survivor and champion cyclist Lance Armstrong, the LAF is located in Austin, Texas. For more information, visit

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

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