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Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Facts

BEGIN TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: It's our Cure-A-Thon, folks. It's the 22nd annual Cure-A-Thon for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America for the blood cancers. And the great part of this effort, and why your donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society are so important, is because blood cancer drugs and treatments and therapies funded by the society are providing hope and survival for other cancers and diseases. Do you remember Gleevec? We've been talking about Gleevec for a number of years now. We spotlighted its development during one of our Cure-A-Thons. Gleevec's initial focus was on a really tough form of leukemia called CML, chronic myelogenous leukemia. Five-year survival rates were less than 50% at the time.

A very exciting recent long-term study at the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston is now showing a major increase in those numbers. The study is not under 50%. A solid 67% of chronic myelogenous leukemia patients on Gleevec have survived not five, but ten years longer. Remember in the previous half hour I spoke at length about the importance of these survival rates. It's probably the most human element of this. Because after you get the diagnosis, the first thing you want to know is: What are the survivability rates? And the news you get changes your life forever, as does the diagnosis -- and how you use those remaining years and how old your kids are.

If it's one of your kids diagnosed, what do you do in those ensuing years with your kids that otherwise you wouldn't have done? It totally changes your life. I don't care how hard some of us might think we have it day to day. This is something, until it happens to you, you can only try to understand it. You cannot possibly relate to it. So when you are told that this drug, Gleevec, is expanding survivability rates from under 50% to now over 67% -- and not five-year survivability, but ten-year -- then you know success. That's not all Gleevec is doing, though. It is also approved to treat a rare form of stomach cancer with the acronym GIST, G-I-S-T.

They had no idea that was gonna happen, but it did. Blood cancer therapies are pioneering treatments for other cancers. Using blood instead of invasive and risky procedures that aren't feasible for some solid tumors, researchers are able to study primary cancer cells from patients rather than relying on cell lines or animal models. And this provides a better chance of producing effective diagnostic and therapeutic strategies. For those of you who have had this happen to you or your family or you've known somebody, you know all of this that I'm talking about. You've seen it. When I mention something like effective diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, you know exactly what that means.

It's just words to people on the outside. But "diagnostic and therapeutic strategies" means: "How do we attack this? What is the best way to go about it? What is it going to cost?" All of these things, people are faced with. Their perspective on life changes immediately. And they are immediately filled with gratitude and hope when they learn what the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is able to do because of donations like yours. For example, there are immuno-therapies where immune system cells are genetically modifies to attack cancer and leave the healthy cells alone. That's just one thing.

Finally, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provides a host of services to patients and families, too. Many of the people working there have been touched by these diseases in some way. In fact, do you know for the 22 years we've been doing this it's the same group of people? The first day that I did this, I met the core group that we work with every year. It's the same people, and they've all been touched by it. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is one of the most efficient charitable operations going, too. It has some of the smallest amount of overhead that you could imagine. Most of these people are volunteers. They're doing it from their hearts.

They care about it because it's affected them. And they provide support groups, peer counseling and financial aid as well as information provided by oncology professionals on the most current clinical trial information. And believe me, when this happens, you want to know everything. You want to become an expert in what's happening to you. You want to be intimately involved in your own treatment. Lance Armstrong. It's exactly what he did. He became an expert in testicular cancer when it happened. This is what happens, and that's what these support people are there to do.

People with certain blood cancers who find it difficult or impossible to afford drug co-pays or health insurance monthly payments might be eligible for a program the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has called the Co-pay Assistance Program. Eligibility is subject to available funds, and that's where you come into play again. It's another reason your support is so badly needed and greatly appreciated, too. I tell you what makes it all worthwhile is the profound progress everybody's making here. In expanding the survivability rates, the drug therapies that are taking place, the education that's benefiting other kinds of cancers as well.

Here's the number again: It's 877-379-8888.

You can also donate at RushLimbaugh.com. [There will be no additional] solicitations.

And there are premiums for certain levels of donations. Those premiums are also explained at RushLimbaugh.com. But just know that the people involved here, at the end of every Cure-A-Thon every April that we do this, are always blown away. There are no expectations going into this each and every year. Nobody expects that each year will surpass the previous year. Everybody hopes, and everybody prays, but nobody expects. So when it happens -- and even the one year we fell a little short -- the degree of appreciation for those of you in this audience, I wish you knew. I wish you could see the tears. I wish you could see the joy on the volunteers' faces here that we deal with.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: So we are doing our 22nd annual Cure-A-Thon today for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of America, as we forge ahead our effort to cure the blood cancers. The telephone number to donate is 877-379-8888, and you can use RushLimbaugh.com as well. And there will be no solicitations. Nobody gets your name or address. Nobody's gonna be hounding you, including these people. It's just the way it's insisted upon here. Everybody asks, "Well, how are you doing, Rush?" Because we've somehow managed to always do better each year than the previous year. People want to know, and I'm afraid to tell you. Snerdley asks, "Why would you be afraid to tell us?"

Well, if I say, "Hey, we're lagging a little behind," you'll feel pressured. If I say, "Well, you're so far ahead you won't believe it," then people will say, "Well, I don't need to do anything." But, you know, I always fall down on the side of real. Mayor of Realville. And we're up... Are you ready? (interruption) Oh, tell 'em at the halfway point? All right. All right. I'll tell at the halfway point. But I can barely hold this in. And I'm still not sure if the number they've given me there is right. I've got the actual dollar numbers, and it's just... Whew.

You all do not have the slightest idea -- not the slightest, you don't have the ability to comprehend -- just how much you all are appreciated and how much you all are loved as people and as a radio audience. There's no adequate way to tell you. Let's just put it this way: You are coming through today in an unprecedented fashion in this Cure-A-Thon. And it's so heartwarming, I can't beginning to express it to you. What are we doing here? Trying to cure the blood cancers Leukemia and lymphoma, the diseases, their toll. And we're making progress. Let me tell you more specifically what is being fought here and where we're going.

Leukemia, of course, is cancer of the bone marrow and blood. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under 20. I don't know if you knew that or not. It's a shocking statistic. When I first heard it I was astounded. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children and young adults under 20. While one-third of cancer deaths for children are from leukemia, the disease kills ten times more adults, despite the high numbers of children. Hodgkin's lymphoma. This is cancer of the lymph system. In the US, there are about 160,000 people living with Hodgkin's lymphoma. About 8,800 cases were diagnosed last year.

And Hodgkin's lymphoma is now considered one of the most curable forms of cancer. The five-year survival rate in 1963 was in the forties. Today it's 86%. Unparalleled success. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma is also cancer of the lymph system. In the United States, there are about 503,000 people living with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. There are 66,000 new cases diagnosed last year. The five-year survival rate in 1963 was 31%; today it's 70%. Now, these survival rates. I probably emphasized these a little bit more this year than I have in the past, and I'll tell you why.

This disease has hit us this year, here at the EIB Network.

And for all of you in the audience who have experienced the disease somewhere in your circle of friends or your family, you know how it changes your perspective. It's impossible for it not to. And it's like anything else in life that has never happened to you before but happens to other people. When it happens to you, your perspective totally changes and the things you learn about it increase. Your desire to learn about it increases. And as such, one of the things that really hit me as a result of us here being touched by it personally has been the survival rate aspect. More on that as the program unfolds.

I hit that pretty heavily in the first hour. But the survivability rate and the expansion of those survivability rates because of the research that's being done in drug therapy, treatment and so forth? Those survivability rates are everything when you are diagnosed with this disease because it's CANCER, and there's no cure. That's what everybody's looking for. There is no cure. And so the question becomes, when you're diagnosed (everybody hopes and prays for remission, but beyond that), "What is the survival rate? What do I have here?" You want to know what you have left to work with, because you've got family.

Depending on the ages of your kids, the survivability rate is everything in how you relate and your relationship with them. And everybody else in your family as well. Myeloma. That's cancer of the plasma cells. An estimated 75,000 people in the US have myeloma. There were about 20,500 cases diagnosed last year. The five-year survival rate in 1963 was in the low teens. Now it's up to 41%. So in Hodgkin's lymphoma we have a survival rate of 86%. Non-Hodgkin's is 70%. Myeloma is 41%. All these used to be in the teens, twenties, forties. It was 31% for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Now, these numbers are daunting. You have to know now that the progress that's been made against them is in no small part from donations to the Society that you have made. And as I alluded to before: A big part of the increased survival rate's taken place just in the last 20-30 years -- and this is our 22nd year. You have had a hands-on role in all of these improvements and increases. It's a sad shame that there's no way to have a personal relationship to these successes other than you know that it's happening. I hope that's enough. It's something that you can take credit for. Or not "take credit," but you could be assured that your donation works!

It's working profoundly. Now, the total population with leukemia in the late seventies had a five-year survival rate of 34.4%. Today, leukemia survival rate is 56.5% -- and it's increasing. It's climbing. Children with the most common form of leukemia are now up to a long-term survival rate of 91%. So while we're talking about killer diseases, the fact remains that the news about their treatment is astoundingly positive, profoundly through the roof. And you do it. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has fundraisers throughout the year.

They have many such programs and plans. But this one is known for its intense power. In less than three hours one day a year, your contributions and donations have a percentage contribution that is remarkable. Everybody has just continued amazement and appreciation for all that you do.

BREAK TRANSCRIPT

RUSH: We are, as of the two-hour mark, a short time ago, we're up 30% over last year.  That does not include my donation that I announced in the first hour, which I only announce the figure one time, but I always kick things off.  But the number that we're working on is strictly yours, strictly your donations.  We're 30% up over last year, just literally amazing.  The volunteers here from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, they get on the intercom every commercial break and they give me an update, and their voices are cracking when they do this because of you. 

We do this once a year.  We've raised over $30 million in less than three hours a year.  And we don't even go wall to wall with it.  You are the greatest audience in the world.  You know, the great part of this effort, why your donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society are so important is because blood cancer drugs and treatments and therapies funded by this society are providing hope and survival for other cancers and diseases, like Gleevec.  And, by the way, I'm getting a lot of e-mails from people who are reporting they've been diagnosed, they are undergoing treatment, some with drugs they consider to be miracle drugs that are arresting the progress of the disease. 

There's so much good work being done here. There's so many advances taking place.  Survivability rates are expanding, are increasing, new drugs are being created, clinical trials are taking place.  Advances are marching forward, all of it taking place in the free market of medical research.  Gleevec, big, big, big drug.  We spotlighted Gleevec's development during one of our Cure-A-Thons years ago.  Now, the initial focus of Gleevec was on a really tough form of leukemia called chronic myelogenous leukemia.  Five-year survival rates were less than 50%.  Which means that less than 50% of those diagnosed lived for five years when it was first introduced, Gleevec. 

Now, a very exciting recent long-term study at the MD Anderson center in Houston, which is one of finest cancer hospitals in the country, recent long-term studies now showing a major increase in these numbers.  The study now is not under 50%.  It's a solid 67% of CML patients on Gleevec are now surviving ten years longer, not five.  But that's not all that Gleevec is doing.  It's also approved to treat a rare form of stomach cancer with the acronym GIST, G-I-S-T.  As these drugs are developed, they are found to have applications elsewhere, cancers that are not blood cancers.  And they're eagerly shared.  There's no proprietary hold on these things.  Everybody in the cancer world is oriented toward the same things here.  Blood cancer therapies are pioneering treatments for other cancers, because the blood cancer treatments use blood instead of invasive and risky procedures that aren't feasible for some solid tumors. 

So researchers are able to study primary cancer cells from the actual patient rather than relying on cell lines that have been extracted or animal models and then hoping to extrapolate. So this gets a better chance of producing effective diagnostic and therapeutic, in other words, treatment, increased treatment, improved treatment to come up with better drugs and options.  And this kind of progress is going on each and every day.  It's like everything else, it takes money, and that's where you come in, and that's where you always have triumphed.  There are immunotherapies.  This is where immune system cells are genetically modified to attack cancer but leave healthy cells alone.  That's the result of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society research.  Immunotherapies. 

Do you realize what is involved?  Just stop and think of that for a minute.  Immune system cells genetically modified to attack cancer cells but leave the healthy cells alone.  And of course beyond all that, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provides a lot of services for patients and families of those who are at the moment being treated.  Many of these people working at the leukemia society have been impacted personally by the disease so they know, and they're able to provide support groups and counseling, financial aid as well as information provided by oncology professionals on the most current disease and what's going on with clinical trials and so forth, and the knowledge continues to expand. 

The compassion is always there in terms of helping families deal with this, in addition to the patient.  The disease affects everybody who knows the patient.  In a psychological way it can be as devastating if not more so to family members than the patient.  The patient has no choice.  Patient has to gut it up and deal with it.  Family members are sometimes in denial, don't want to be any part of it. That puts all kinds of additional pressure on the patient, particularly if the patient's a parent.  The tendency, when you're diagnosed, is to feel sorry for yourself and you want everybody to focus attention on you and you want sympathy and then some people don't want any attention.  They are embarrassed to be the focus of attention, don't want anything at all, and as such a distance develops between the patient, family, friends. That's where the counseling comes in. 

There's a lot of denial that first happens.  But the patient sometimes appears to be in denial, which is attempted courage or what have you, but at some point it all hits, the reality of it.  And that's when support people are there to help and deal with this and they let things play out as they normally do and they know when to step in and get things back on track.  It's so encompassing, the work that they do in addition to research for treatments, drugs, therapies, this kind of thing.  There's also the counseling aspect of this that goes on.  It's an amazing thing that happens, and every one of them knows what to do because they've all been personally impacted by it. Either they've had the disease themselves, do have it, family members have had it, and they are the same people we've been working with since this started back in 1990, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. 

Now, we have premiums that we're giving away.  All of this is detailed at RushLimbaugh.com, but here you go.  A donation of $75 to $99 gets you an official Rush T-shirt.  It's white, it's got the Rush 2012 logo on the front, only comes in one size, XL.  Don't complain.  A donation of a hundred dollars to $359.  Here you go, the commemorative T-shirt plus an EIB hat, royal blue, official EIB signature, and 2012 logo in red and white thread.  This is adjustable.  It's got a Velcro sizing strap in the back.  One-size-fits-all.  It fits my head; it'll fit yours.  Don't complain.  And then a donation of $360 or more, you get the official Rush Limbaugh EIB golf shirt and the cap.  The golf shirt is an ultra-cool fabric, one of these ClimaCool things, doesn't get wet, keeps you dry as well.  It's a polo shirt, it's royal blue, the official EIB logo embroidered in white on the left chest and the Rush signature and the year 2012 embroidered on the left sleeve, and this is custom sizing from small to XXX. 

And that's what we're doing today, curing the blood cancers and doing everything that we can to advance the cause.  And you've come through again here in ways that have shocked and surprised everybody.  As I say, 20 minutes ago we were up by 30% over last year, not counting my personal donation, which I announced in the first hour.  We just tabulate your funds and compare them from year to year. 

END TRANSCRIPT

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