Stamford, Conn., and Rye Brook, N.Y. — WWE and Roman Reigns are teaming up with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) in the fight against cancer. For Reigns, the cause is personal: He is in remission for the second time from chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). The new partnership with LLS, the world’s largest nonprofit fighting blood cancers, will propel the organization’s comprehensive effort to drive more research and deliver more assistance to cancer patients and families when they need it most, including those battling pediatric cancer.
“My own journey with leukemia inspires me to do whatever I can to help young cancer patients,” Reigns said. “I know how tough it is to deal with cancer, and I want to show people that even someone like me can be knocked down, but with the right treatment and support, we can get back up to fight another day. That’s why I’m so honored that WWE and I are helping The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society spread the word about the great work LLS is doing to find new and better treatments for kids and provide financial assistance to families struggling with a cancer diagnosis.”
While progress has been made in finding new treatments and even cures for some cancers, few new, less toxic treatments have been approved for childhood cancers, including leukemia. LLS recently launched The LLS Children’s Initiative to tackle pediatric cancer from every angle by doubling its investment in pediatric research, strengthening patient support services, including back-to-school resources, family support groups and financial assistance, and advocating for policies that will ensure coverage for treatment and care. As well, LLS will launch a first-of-its-kind clinical trial for pediatric leukemias in 2020. The PedAL Master Clinical Trial is a bold, precision medicine approach to using genomics to target therapies for children.
According to LLS president and CEO, Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., “LLS was founded 70 years ago by a family for families, and we are honored to partner with WWE and Roman Reigns, who personifies the importance of our mission and our fight to end blood cancers. We are confident that the tremendous spotlight WWE and Roman shine on our quest for cures will inspire the legions of fans to support LLS and help the thousands of children and families dealing with a cancer diagnosis and treatment.”
Through this partnership, WWE and Reigns will generate awareness and support for research to find new, less toxic treatments for childhood cancers, and LLS’s unique educational and support services for patients and families, including financial assistance. WWE will use its global platforms, including TV broadcasts, Live Events, WWE Network and digital and social media to support LLS’s mission. In addition, a portion of sales from select Roman Reigns merchandise will be donated to LLS.
“WWE is proud to partner with LLS’s Children’s Initiative and address the need for new and better treatment options for pediatric cancer patients around the world,” WWE Chief Brand Officer Stephanie McMahon said. “Finding a cure for pediatric cancer is critical. We hope by using WWE’s platforms and Roman Reigns’ personal story, we can raise awareness, drive donations, and help inspire patients and families to keep fighting.”
Reigns’ personal journey with leukemia began in 2007 when he was diagnosed with CML at age 22. He battled and beat the disease; however; 11 years later, Reigns’ cancer returned, and he was forced to relinquish the Universal Championship and take time away from WWE. After facing down cancer for the second time, Reigns made a heroic return earlier this year. His partnership with LLS is part of his commitment and determination to keep fighting for patients and families.
While there have been more than 40 treatments approved by the FDA in the past two-and-a-half years for adults with blood cancer, only four therapies have been approved in the past three decades for first use in children with cancer. And the children who do survive face a lifetime of deadly complications from toxic treatments. Leukemia is the most common cancer diagnosed in children and the second-leading cause of cancer death for children. The LLS Children’s Initiative addresses the need for more to be done now.
“As LLS marks its 70th anniversary and more than $1.3 billion invested in research to-date, we are more determined than ever to honor the legacy of our founding family, who lost their 16-year-old son to leukemia. It’s a perfect time to enlist Roman and WWE in our efforts to make an impact for children now,” DeGennaro stated.
LLS encourages the public to visit the LLS website to add inspiring stories and photos, along with Reigns’ and many others, to the Generation LLS Family Tree, in recognition of the organization’s 70th anniversary.