The care, concern, information, and resources I received from my interaction with Kritstin at LLS was life-giving. Plus she followed up by sending me recap info and resources that solidified all the rather sketchy info I had collected from my doctors and google. I had ironically hosted a few fundraising events for LLS before I was even diagnosed with Lymphoma. I am so grateful to know that they are putting their resources to such good use by helping patients like me navigate the rough journey of blood cancer. I get my confidence and peace from God, but these angels have helped me maintain that peace.
LLS is and always will be a charity that's close to my hard. I'm a firm believer in the great work they do. The focus is on blood cancer, but the research benefits other cancers. The treatments they've funded have often gone on to benefit other cancers.
I became involved in 2008 when my 25 year old brother was diagnosed with AML. LLS was there right away for him to help a bit financially but more importantly to help him understand and cope with his illness.
To the comments related to patient support...that is a goal of LLS. They support and educate patients and their families AND support research concurrently. That said, the focus is and should be on research because that's what will save the most patients in the future. Within patient services, I'd argue that emotional and educational support are much more valuable than a check for medical expenses anyway.
My brother lost his battle to leukemia in 2010 and I've been team captain of his Light the Night Walk team since, raising about $38,000 to date. I serve on the fundraising committee for our local walk and have had exposure to nearly every employee at the Maryland chapter. The people who work at LLS are amazing because they are so committed and vested in the cause. It's not a job to them; it's their life work.
With regards to the comments about the CEOs pay...please don't let that deter you from donating. The fact of the matter is this: CEOs at private companies make a lot more. The CEO of a nonprofit has the same skill set and he/she chose to take a considerable pay cut to work for a charity because they believe in the cause. We can agree that they shouldn't have the same pay as for-profit CEOs but at the same time, like it or not, you have to pay if you want to attract top talent. I think John Walter has done a great job as CEO since his appointment in 2008. He deserves every penny he's paid.
LLS is just an amazing charity for a great cause and I'll continue to support them until cancer is cured.
I felt compelled to make a comment after reading a patient's review below. She was upset that she did not receive financial help from LLS while she was going through her treatment. This organization's goal is NOT to give financial aid to patients. Their goal is to fund blood cancer research. So, while they may not have given you money to help with your medical bills, how would that have helped the thousands and thousands of others who are suffering from blood cancer? They can do the most good and help the most people by donating their money to research to find a SOLUTION to the problem...not funding medical expenses the problem creates. This is not to sound callous - this is a fact. The push for money is to fund research, it's that simple.
I saw the 1 star rating by Jessica Simpson whereas I give it 4 stars as the only problem I see with the LLS is that their fundraising costs are a bit high but administrative costs are very reasonable for an organization this large. Her contention that the director was getting paid 3.6% more than the director of the American Red Cross didn't sit too well for her and she has decided to cross the LLS off her list for donations.
That is regrettable!
My daughter has Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma and has directly benefited from research funded by the LLS as well as received some minor funding for medical treatment. If you look at this page, http://www.lls.org/aboutlls/researchsuccesses/, you'll see that Rituxan is one of the drugs that came from research funded, in part, by the LLS and it is one of the drugs that has helped my daughter.
I participate in a local Light The Night Walk campaign in honor of my daughter and see the direct work of LLS workers. Many of them have family members who have blood cancers so it's just not a job to them.
So please do not let one bad review for a minor disagreement stop you from contributing to one of our great charities.
This is my ninth year as an active TNT volunteer, and in my opinion the organization does an excellent job. Not perfect, but none of us are. Have many friends who are Blood Cancer survivors, some who have not been able to survive. The work of LLS with patients and their families is superb, and the support of new drugs and therapies is outstanding.
My "family cancer" is pancreatic, and unfortunately there has been less success in that arena. My wife and I work with LLS in part because we see success, and also hope for cross-over to other cancers.
I contribted to this organization on and off for about 10 years. However, I recently began using Charity Navigator to screen and filter my contributions. Upon reading the reviews for LLS, I was drawn to the compensation of the director, which is at $519,000.00. Now, as a comparsion, I looked up the compensation for the director of the American Red Cross, at $501,000.00. Not only does the American Red Cross pay their director less, but the scope of services provided and scope of responsibility for the ARC cannot compare to LLS. I have decided to cross LLS off my list.
Review from CharityNavigator
I have lymphoma, have attended the local LLS support group for blood cancer (the only one around), am a first connection volunteer who has called newly diagnosed patients, have attended the excellent Highlights of ASH (annual blood cancer conference) shindig in San Francisco, have visited local political representatives with the organization, and am a multi-year Team In Training (TNT) participant. I recently spoke as a patient at Stanford Hospital - where many doctors are supporting and speak highly of the organization - they have a Stanford hospital TNT team.
The local San Jose office staff are great in my opinion. The organization is the major blood cancer advocate in my area.
TNT is a good thing. I don't like asking for money and have felt guilty about benefiting from LLS sponsoring trips to potentially far flung locations. That said, most of my events are local (Wildflower), I drive to them, and sleep on the ground in a tent, but I also went to Hawaii. I also donate and my company matches, participants can donate their own $'s if they feel bad about administrative overhead. I guess 25% overhead is normal, but I'd like non-profit overhead to be 0% like everyone else, but we have to live in reality, local staff don't seem overpaid. I'm also not enamored of high CEO salaries, but I'd probably have to say that most CEO's in Silicon Valley have better salaries, but they're not running non-profits.
Best for TNT is that in addition to helping patient, it also get participants off the couch, into good shape, and significantly improves participant health. So they help patients, raise money for research, whip participants into shape, etc. What's not great about that!
One of the other reviewers is correct, you can't swing a dead cat in the Bay Area without hitting a TNT'er. Go Team!
They've improved my life. I brought my entire family to Hawaii (on my dime of course) and hence even my wife and kids are heartier, healthier, and sexy as hell:-) Now my 16 year old son is biking with me and will go to Wildflower (I'm paying) with me this year. He's wearing an old TNT jersey of course - his only biking top!
I've been a TNT honoree (cancer survivor) every year I've participated. My blood cancer isn't curable, but it seems to be stable. I hope to participate for many more years.
I'm not a charity expert, but I have worried about this, did my own investigation (e.g. reading all these reviews) and my take is:
* LLS is as about good as most charities from an overhead standpoint
* Of course training and sending loads of people to events is overhead, but it's really good overhead.
* Most of my friends are going to donate to charity (Go Friends!), LLS is as good a choice as any
I judge things in life by the rule would it be good if everyone did it or no one did it. By this rule littering is bad, spending more time with your children good, and TNT good. If everyone did TNT we'd all be in better shape, live longer, and health care costs would go down - that's before any of the funds raised go to research and patient services.
It's not easy to get fat Americans off the couch. I know my couch is pretty comfortable. As soon as I ask my family/friends to donate to my TNT fundraising my fate is sealed, I have to do it. That's the kind of positive peer pressure we all need. I ran to work today, without my TNT event looming over me I would never have done that. My big, fat, gas guzzling SUV sat in the driveway all day. I should park it on the couch:-)
Review from Guidestar
I have donated to this charity from time to time. I would like to help those with CLL in particular. I don't want to contribute to the half million dollar salary the CEO is taking. I'm glad I found out about it. Good grief. I'm going to look for a better place to donate.
In reading the posts on LLS, it does not surprise me a bit. I am a former employee of LLS. Just over three years ago, shortly after the current CEO was put in office, the company made an about face and overhauled the company nation wide. The corporate office let many of the staff go and re-hired new staff at many of the offices throughout the country. In many offices, entire staff were treated terribly and all were let go. New employees pushed hard to get money out of patients families and local businesses. Empathy appeared to go out the window with the management change. In my office, I personally witnessed Godly people who truly cared about suffering patients and their families get replaced by cold money grubbing staff who followed the new direction of demands sent down by corporate office; to fundraise fundraise fundraise. The push to raise money was suddenly NOT balanced with putting the money raised back into the community to meet the patients needs. I personally witnessed the financial aid program and other programs get slashed to the bone while the new staff pushed and pushed families, donors and businesses to donate large sums of money. The new focus was not on the patients but on fundraising. Watching programs get demolished before my eyes and patients being deceived was unbearable. . I have worked for non-profits most of my professional career. I was very proud of LLS and their professionalism when I first began to work for them. However, it was extremely painful to watch a good agency fall apart in such a short period of time after the new CEO took office. I cried....not because I lost my job, but for the patients I was helping that I knew were being cut off from deserved services.
I have volunteered & participated with this organization for several years, each time expecting, hoping for something better to come out of their research and fundraising events...but it all seems to be going downhill. I'm also an avid marathoner and have noticed that a lot of there Team in Training events have not been up to par with their competitors. Many other organizations (The American Cancer Society (DetermiNation Campaign), have a much superior presence at the same events and I don't feel the that same "special feeling" to be a part of The Leukemia &Lymphoma Society. My friends and I are now choosing to donate ($ and time) to other organizations and are saddened that the organization has lost so much over the years.
I used to contribute to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society until I learned some facts. For those of you who feel your contributions and Team in Training efforts are helping to "cure leukemia and lymphoma" please check the publicly reported compensation of the CEO John Walter with other not for profits. For example, the CEO of Save the Children had total revenue of $540 million to manage. And, 90% of all expenditures went to Program Services. The CEO of Save the Children earns a base salary, according to the filed (and public) 990 form, of around $390,000. John Walter of LLS earns a base salary of over $500,000, which it reported lost $3.7 million last year and has total revenue that is hundreds of millions less, with around 70% going to “Program Services”. Recently the LLS Board ended the role of the SVP Marketing and Communications because of the poor results. Why hold only one person accountable for these results? These poor decisions started at the top. Maybe it's now time for the LLS Board to hold Mr. Walter accountable for running this once fine organization into the ground. I feel cheated. An outrageous base salary for a losing effort?? You might want to consider where your money is going too.
Review from CharityNavigator
I was incredibly disappointed with this organization. I have ALL and have participated and fundraised for this group and will NOT continue to support this organization. When I relapsed after my first umbilical cord transplant, it was such a burden on my family that I sought out assistance through their website for the "Copay Assistance". I was told "you have the wrong kind of leukemia. There is no funding for that type." Are you kidding me? I didn't get to choose my "type" of leukemia. After being told this by their main headquarters, I called the local branch and received was told to apply for the $125/year they offer to patients. Since I was not able to receive disability (didn't qualify due to I was a stay at home mom for 12 years trying to raise my kids and told we made more than the $1000/mo allowed to qualify). I have not personally seen any of my cancer friends "helped" from this organization. I've only seen the money flow in from all the Team in Training and fundraising for all their events. I, being a leukemia survivor, do not see that they help the patients as stating they do. I've gone through this twice and was deparate (I am a very proud person that would NOT ask for help if I do not need it and would prefer not to ever need it) at the time I was trying to reach out. I would give to the local blood banks or to the American Cancer Society or to a smaller non profit doing good in the community. Every time I get a call from them for fundraising, I explain in detail WHY I cannot support their organization. I wish I could. I am currently working with my local blood bank and will give back to them. I see the benefit of the works of the blood bank far more than the LLS.
My son was 49 years old when he was diagnosed with AML. He was told he had a 25% chance of survival. He underwent severe treatment to get him ready for a bone marrow transplant. Luckily his own bone marrow was collected and harvested after his hard sharp treatments with chemo. It worked for him!! He has passed the 5 year mark, and is considered cured!! He is now 55 years old and feels that the research done prior to his experience with leukemia at least gave him a chance to live. He wants to give back to the people now going through the tough times with blood cancer treatments, and the research being done every day. SO YOU WILL FIND HIM, A SURVIVOR, AS A MEMBER OF TNT FOR A 100 MILE BIKE RIDE. He has been harshly training twice a week since February. He is a very generous man to do this. It is also very hard to ask for donations from friends, but he believes in LLS, and knows that some day they will come up with the answers to cures and even prevention, and hopes for patients and their families. (I wonder if you have statistics on how many participants are actually survivors of blood cancers.)
I work in cancer research and I have walked for LLS fundraising. I also send in change for my kids at their annual Pasta for Pennies fundraising school wide. However in recently looking for a cancer charity to donate to, I was shocked to see that the CEO of LLC takes in half a million dollars! That is outrageous. Their overhead is also high. I will definitely look for another cancer charity to donate to, perhaps something like Alex's lemonade stand. To me, if you are earning that much $, probably topping pediatric oncology surgeons, something is not right.
Review from CharityNavigator
If you do go to the website that Mr. Sergentakis suggests, you should also be aware that he is a convicted felon who continues to victimize this organization and its CEO with lies, libel and fiction created in his mind. Do your own research. Read about the cutting edge approaches, in fundraisining as well as research, that LLS is using to eradicate this group of deadly diseases. If you do go to this website, take in the rantings of an unstable man, then take note that he has posted things there that prove his guilt.
Our experience with Team in Training and by extension the LLS was great. My wife was diagnosed with CLL (Chronic Lymphocidic Leukemia) 15 years ago. Today, she is still very healthy and active and her CLL is in remission. We attribute much of this to chemo treatments using what was newly developed technology about 10 years ago. We believe efforts like TnT contribute substantially to this and other cancer/disease research. If it takes people to engage in a personal endurance challenge to motivate them and their supporters to contribute to this, we see no problem, in fact having seen it up close from many perspectives, seeing the results, we think it is terrific. This is true not only for LLS/TnT but all similar endurance based fund raisers for charity.
AFTER my wife was diagnosed, we participated in 3 Team in Training running events to both improve our health (thus fighting my wife's disease) and help raise funds for research and treatment. TnT raises many millions that got to fighting and treating blood based diseases.
Surely in participating, was some fun and friendship but that was not the purpose but just a byproduct. The time and work involved to participate far outweighs social and financial benefit for participants. IT IS NOT EASY.
We remained active in TnT for 15 years, assisting at many group meetings and promotions, mentoring/coaching others, and donating to many others TnT campaigns.
While there are clearly social and personal health/achievement benefits to participating, the work and effort involved in training and fund raising is substantial. Anyone who participates is to be commended. It is hardly a free vacation. As to 'repeat' participation as an imposition on friends, it is up to them if they want to donate again and again. It is equally difficult for many participants to 'ask' again. They do it through belief that they are helping others and that their friends agree. Most people will donate to some charities every year. Hopefully most people realize that the participant is (again) making a substantial effort in fundraising and training/participating and find it not easy again and again. It is NOT easy for most people to ask for financial support from others.For many/most the fundraising is even more difficult than the VERY difficult training and participation.
I think Team In Training is a terrific concept and it has been cloned by many other charitable organizations to the good of millions of participants, patients, families, research facilities, and treatment centers. I doubt the bottom line funding of these charities would be as good without these endurance training organizations and their many many volunteers and participants.
There are different types of non-profit organizations - some are strictly foundations collecting money and others are businesses funding research - LLS raises a lot of money, serves patients and their families AND funds real research...this is a multi-million dollar business with a great track record, results in research, and services provided...the question is, how much do you pay someone to lead an organization that is actually working to cure cancer? You might just get what you pay for...
This organization is truly doing what they say they will do - and they do it in creative and innovative ways...they are run like a business with true ethics and accountability...they are successful, even in these times, making real strides against blood cancers because of the way that they are run. Kris Sergentakis, another reviewer, is a convicted felon who pleaded guilty to defrauding this organization, and his website is nothing more than the disgruntled missive of a rat who got caught. His rants and baseless falsehoods about the CEO who put him behind bars with tons of evidence IN ADDITION to his admission are pathetic. Put more faith in the reviews of people who didn't steal money from them.
My nephew had lymphoma. I thought it would be good to
donate to this organization. I think that something needs to
be done about the CEO salaries because when you donate to an organization you want the money to go to the cause not to an overly large salary for the administrators. What about a limit of $200,000
which is pretty much stretching it. Too me is it sad that I feel
like I should not donate to organizations because the CEO is paid too much because you know there are people out there who need the
help the organization provides. Maybe someone needs to start
and alternative organization with a CEO with a reasonable salary.
Review from CharityNavigator
While I have witnessed many great things come out of the fronting organization (Team in Training), I have also witness personal greed. I used to be an ardent donator to anyone in the group who was "raising" funds. It finally dawned on me that first timers were serious. They had a goal, a family member, or someone close who had been afflicted by the disease. It was true and personal to them. These people came and went, usually for a one time shot. I started to wonder if it was really a check on their bucket list that ended up being the motivator, or loneliness, the need to feel part of something). In either case, most raised, ran and disappeared. Then there were the groupies, the ones that repeatedly raised for LLS. How could they do this I thought? Surely, friends and relatives were getting burned out by donations. I started to observe that the reason for joining in the first place was gone. It was now about "asking people to donate, so TNT can pay my way to an event that would cost me $$$$ of my own". What a gimmick...I ask people to donate, feed them a sad story, I raise my limit, they send me on a vacation. All I have to do is run, actually I don’t even think you need to finish, LLS already got their money. Do they care if you finish or not?
It is at this point that I stopped cold turkey and have never donated to LLS again and have lost respect for some individuals along the way. Hey, I wouldn't mind raising $4,500 to go to Dublin from the generosity of my donors!
But I can't, I cannot ask for people to donate money and have it in reality benefit myself. That’s not what it is for. Do my donators understand I will get a "free" trip out of the deal? Do they know they are paying for me to take a vacation? I think not.
Don't get me wrong, I believe in the mission of LLS, my mother died from Leukemia, so I understand the plight. I don't understand the mindset. If you want to raise money, then do it for the cause, give something back. Don’t make it a check mark on your bucket list, or a cheap way to fund your running travels. Donate your time to a cancer floor, to Ronald McDonald house, or something. But do not ask me to fund your trip!
Do you want to be my hero and earn my respect and my donation? Then turn down the trip and tell them it was for the people who have suffered and not for you. Tell LLS, you will pay your own way and have it be YOUR donation
Review from CharityNavigator
I am a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma survivor, the third in my family. I am grateful for the drugs that LLS has helped to develop but I question the absence of prevention in their mission statement. They have pulled risk factors for blood cancers from their website. And my third concern is that they hold fundraisers in toxic minefields of herbicides, pesticides and fungicides. In Orange County in California, they parade thousands of survivors and genetically-at-risk relatives past a Major League Baseball field while dozens of chemicals are still in their toxic half-life state. Hurray for the treatments the help create. Shame on LLS for ignoring the science on the chemicals that put people at risk for blood cancers. Where is their next fundraiser, Fukushima, Japan? And shame on the CEO salary. He can get paid that when he is done preventing and curing blood cancers. For now he is failing at his job by putting more people at risk for blood cancer.
Review from CharityNavigator
Though I respect the LLS charity goals, I must say that they employ phone tactics that have annoyed many, many people--which is wrong. They (according to them) employ an auto-dialer which calls homes--often later than is legally allowed--and the household member hears nothing when they pick up the phone. They do this over and over in one night. They tell me the reason is that they have too few people to handle the auto-calling mechanism. Stupid, intrusive and plain wrong. I would not donate to an organization that employs such annoying practices. There are many, many others. (The Internet is packed with complaints about this practice of LLS)
Review from CharityNavigator
This Charity Honestly doesn't deserve any stars in my opinion. They used to give patients $500 a year towards transportation reimbursement and now it's $150, this is a 75% drop!! And yet they are still raising more money then they did last year. While I understand that there are more survivors of blood cancer now, then there were perhaps 3 years ago, the fact remains that not all of them need this additional help.
I was extremely upset to also find out how much the CEO John Walters takes in as a salary! $558,000 is exuberant and if he really wanted to aid those of us who have or have had cancer, he would take a lower salary and use the excess money to help us all. Unfortunately this organization has turned to greed and what they can get out of others!! Calculate how much he and his board make every year! Do they really need all this money?
I refuse to support this cause and if you are thinking of helping them, I suggest you look into the sites that provide you the facts!!
Research the Charity Prior to donating!!! And make sure you know where the money goes, because God forbid you or someone you know get's diagnosed with this disease, you will see the truth of how little assistance you will get from this charity!
This non-profit acts like a creditor. This charity acts as if I owe them money. After providing a large donation, I've received 2 "hang-up" calls a day, 6-7 days a week (to my answering machine) for the past 4 weeks. They finally reached me on a Sunday evening; I was clear with the representative I would NOT be "calling or sending a letter to 12 of my friends & neighbors to solicit donations for LLS." I resent their constant calls and their method of fundraising is ridiculous and unprofessional in my view. I plan on contacting my local chapter to let them know I wont be supporting them in the future. Too bad as my company matches funds.
Review from CharityNavigator
I'm a lymphoma survivor and a five time Team in Training participant. Everything I see tells me that this is a good organization. I do think $500K is too high a salary for their CEO for a charity. However, the local people I see are underpaid from what I see and the hard work that they do. Plus none of the volunteers are paid and we put a lot of time into this. Any charity is going to have 20-25% of their revenue going into admin and fundraising, and LLS is no different. If it were 30-35%, I'd be concerned, but not 25%. I disagree with most of the negative comments that I read. Nothing is perfect but the mission of curing blood cancers is a very difficult one, and progress is being made.
The reason for using this site is to look at what they do with the money. They raised $510 Million in 2 years. They gave $175 million in grants. Where did the other $335 million go??? How about $160 million in salaries and benefits, $120 million in raising money and office expenses - pretty good offices, $12 million for flights and hotels.
WHY ARE YOU GIVING TO THESE PEOPLE???? WHY DON"T YOU JUST LOOK AT THE 990s???
Review from Guidestar
I'm very troubled about what has happened to LLS.
Their purpose has changed: from great to personal money.
Review from Guidestar
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is an excellent organization that funds research of blood cancers. The Society's funding has helped researchers make break-throughs in the fight against blood cancer such as the creation of Gleevec. The Society also supports patient education and offers support to blood cancer patients and their families.
Review from Guidestar
Never give to this charity if you don't want to be stalked with phone calls to your home, usually at dinner time. I gave to them once, and they asked for my phone number. They literally call my home number every day with solicitations
Review from Guidestar
The NYC chapter has made my ongoing battle against AML a less-stressful and more hopeful one. I have been a grateful recipient of financial assistance for transportation and an inspired teammate of Team in Training. Rock on LLS!
I'm giving LLS and TNT four stars. This is my first year with Team in Training, so I will come back and revisit my review once the season is over. So far it has been a great experience.
I have participated in TNT twice now- once for a triathlon and once for a marathon. Both experiences were really unique and really wonderful. I achieved levels of fitness and CONFIDENCE in my fitness that I never dreamed possible- this is something I will never again lose. I now know that I can. I was a participant with several loose ties to cancer, but no really strong ones. Still, training so hard for so long for such a focused, poignant cause involved me in a way I hadn't anticipated. When I was a summer camp counselor, my 14 year old camper was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma, and a year later on the first day of camp I had to sit all of her friends down and tell them that she had died that morning. While training for a triathlon I read excerpts from her personal journal to my team, and their support and appreciation of her and of how I felt made me stronger and gave me a validation I didn't even know I needed. And even though I haven't adopted this cause as something I work for daily, I will always support it, because I have seen the strength that this program gives to trainees, to honorees, to family members, and the inspiration it gives to anyone who gets involved, even as a donor or friend of a participant. It is a truly life-altering experience in every possible, positive way.
The people in team in training and those whom work for the society have seen and been through alot. Many people on the team either have a relative or someone close to them be diagnosed with, live with, or even pass on because of Leukemia, Lymphoma, or any one of the other many blood diseases. These people are tough and helpful, fighting for a good cause.
I must admit that my reasons for signing up with the SF Bay Area Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Team in Training (TNT) were none too altruistic. After grad school, all of my friends left the Bay Area, and so I had no life. My marriage sucked dead goats. And worst of all, I was quickly turning into a tub of lard. I decided that joining a triathlon team would ease my yearning for social contact, buff men, and (my own) toned toukhas. Deeply guilt-ridden Judeo-Christian that I am, though, I couldn't justify dedicating hundreds of dollars and hours of training to my own selfish needs. And so I made a charitable event out of my endurance sport aspirations by joining TNT. Oh yes. And I wanted to stamp out leukemia, lymphoma, and other blood cancers. But that came later. TNT does an excellent job of whipping its recruits' bodies into shape and their social networks into a fundraising frenzy. Each athlete has to raise several thousands of dollars - for my event, the 2005 Wildflower triathlon, the amount was $2900 - and the TNT staff armed us with Web sites, fundraising letter templates, and a bevy of fundraising event ideas - many of them involving copious amounts of liver-altering libations. The staff also guided us through a sane, safe, well-watered, nicely nurtured training regimen that, by Jove, resulted in about a hundred newly minted triathletes - all of whom are now, of course, my best friends. I can't ride my bike in Marin County without running into a fellow TNT alum. L & L also does a pretty decent job of educating TNT athletes about blood cancers, their causes, and their cures, as well as supporting research and patient services. What's not to love about this set-up? Well, I'm sure if you do it right, you don't wind up shelling out hundreds more dollars on your new best friends' fundraisers. But I didn't do it right, and probably spent at least as much money on donations as I did on gear. And triathlon gear is not cheap - a road bike with clipless pedals, a wet suit, and some toukhas-accentuating spandex don't come cheap in these parts. So it's an expensive way to raise money for blood cancer research and patient support. Also, I was required to drink far more alcohol than anyone should - a deterrent for folks who are trying to stay on the wagon. And the mean age of participants was probably 27, although the range was about 24 to 50, and so the demographics might not be welcoming to all. Finally, in all the pavement pounding and lollygagging, I'm not sure how much we paid attention to the cause of fighting blood cancers. TNTs strategy of turning its athletes' vanity and unspent glucose into donor dollars is brilliant; it would be even better if the organization could turn those resources into a deeper knowledge about nonprofit participation as a whole (e.g., which other diseases deserve attention, how the poisoned environment is increasing cancer prevalence, how else athletes can be of use in the world). But in the end, it was hellafun, and I was converted to the cause of supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society forever.