We had the good fortune of connecting with Sana Moezzi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sana, can you talk to us a bit about the social impact of your business?
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients. We are the voice for the more than 1.2 million people in the US living with or in remission from a blood cancer: leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma or another malignancy of the blood. Every three minutes someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer. Our Mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Since our inception in 1949 we have invested more than $1 billion in blood cancer research. Our investment has played a role in most of the therapies that are used to treat blood cancer patients today and many of these therapies are helping patients with other cancers and serious diseases. Advances such as chemotherapy, bone and stem cell transplantation, and more recently, targeted therapies that precisely target the genetic drivers of the cancer while sparing healthy tissue, and therapies that harness the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, began with the blood cancers. Between 2000 and 2015, more than 40% of cancer-fighting therapies approved by the FDA were first approved to treat blood cancer patients and many of these are helping other patients. For example, Gleevec®, first approved to treat patients with chronic myeloid leukemia, is now approved for certain rare forms of stomach and skin cancers, and Rituxan®, first approved to treat lymphoma patients, is now approved to treat patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. These drugs, and many others first approved for blood cancer patients, are being tested for many other types of cancers and diseases.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
4 years ago during my senior year of high school, I was applying for college applications, working a full-time job, practicing the violin with the San Diego Symphony, and serving as president of 2 nonprofit organizations. In November of 2016, all of that had stopped. When coming home from work on a Wednesday night, my mom noticed a huge bump on my right shoulder. PET/CT scans and a biopsy later, the doctor had told me that I had 4 weeks to live. I was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer. I endured many cycles of chemotherapy and radiation, missing 5 months of my senior year, and still pushed myself to graduate on time. With no hopes as to what the future may hold, my spirits were down but I persevered. My day-to-day life revolved around daily treatment, feeling sick all the time, and fearing the unknown. LLS’s children’s initiative for patients battling Hodgkin’s Lymphoma saved my life. Because of LLS, I not only graduated with over a 4.0 GPA, but more importantly, I am over 4 years cancer free!! After my diagnosis, I found my mission in life. That is, to help changemakers find a cure for blood cancer. The time and dedication to supporting patients like me gives hope, strength, and joy that are crucial to their journey. Working with those devoted to making a difference in the lives of these families who have no clue what the next day will bring for their critically ill loved ones fulfills my lifelong mission in life: to shed light for those battling critical illnesses.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Sarah Clark, Madeleine Hamingson, Anna Sarnoff, Meredyth Gonzalez, and Aria Hueso deserves credit and recognition for my short, yet extremely incredible time at LLS. I couldn’t have achieved great success without their support and help. A huge thank you to them for influencing my life and helping me become a better, more skilled employee. Never would I have imagined to get such caring and supporting colleagues at work.