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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research, education and patient services.

Each year, the San Diego/Hawaii Chapter hosts its annual “Light The Night Walk,” a two-mile inspirational journey that brings together thousands of individuals to raise funds for lifesaving blood cancer research and critical patient and family services.

In 2010, the organization attracted approximately 3,000 individual walkers, 250 teams and raised nearly $420,000. This year, LLS looked to Stalwart Communications, a performance-based PR and Marketing agency, to provide creative solutions and raise awareness for the event. After learning more about LLS’ goals, Stalwart Communications uncovered various ways to raise awareness for the annual Walk. In addition to the standard tactics such as adding the Walk to community calendars and inviting media to cover the event, the agency felt that there was a very important component that hadn’t been incorporated in years past; sharing stories of survivors and those who are still battling with leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.

Each year, LLS selects a few patients to honor and Stalwart Communications wanted to share those inspiring stories with the hero’s local media outlets. If fellow community members didn’t know someone before battling blood cancer, this was an opportunity to touch them with a story of someone in their neighborhood and encourage them to get involved. In addition, Stalwart Communications wanted to highlight some of the unique ways in which supporters and companies were raising funds for the event that were covered by a wide range of media outlets and KUSI news attended the event as well.

As a result of Stalwart Communications efforts, they were able to secure a slew of online, print and TV stories in various outlets, with more than 75 percent coming ahead of the actual event. The additional coverage was a key factor in the 2011 Walk bringing in nearly $450,000, which is the most raised by the San Diego/Hawaii Chapter to date. In addition, approximately 3,500 individuals and 250 teams participated in this year’s event, which is a significant increase compared to previous years.

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