'Have faith that one day there will be a cure'

Hollywood, MD- Claire Broadhead was just nine years old when she was diagnosed with Leukemia. It was a whirlwind of information when she learned of the news. Her doctors and nurses were explaining what was happening and how they were going to attack it--so much information to process for a young child.

Now, at the age of 16, Broadhead has been in remission since 2011. She is teaming up with other local high school students to bring awareness about the battle against blood cancers and to raise money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Broadhead is the student ambassador for the Fly4ACure Kite Festival at the St. Mary’s County Fairgrounds in March. The festival is the brainchild of Samir Shah and Saar Shah—cousins who both have been touched by blood cancer in their families. They’re competing for the first time in the LLS Student of the Year campaign to raise money to fund cancer research.

“Everyone should be aware of what cancer can do,” said Broadhead. “And it’s important to raise money for LLS because it helps develop treatment for other cancers.” In fact, 40 percent of new cancer therapies stem from blood cancer research and treatments.

At the first annual Fly4ACure Kite Festival, Broadhead will host a recognition ceremony. It will honor people, like herself, who have battled, are still battling, or those who lost their battle with a blood cancer.

“I want people to know it gets better. You’ll hit low points but have faith that there will one day be a cure,” Broadhead commented.

The teen said her doctors and nurses also gave her strength to keep fighting. “I couldn’t be more grateful for them.” Broadhead tearfully recalled one nurse who was always by her side. “They weren’t all about the medicine. They were there for me so I could smile.”

In St. Mary’s County there are at least 500 people battling some form of blood cancer, whether it’s Leukemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma, or Hodgkin’s disease. Blood cancers, on average, account for more than 10 percent of all new cancer cases diagnosed each year—and they’re the third leading cancer killer in the country.

You can help in the struggle to find a cure. Researchers and doctors are getting closer to finding a cure everyday—but it costs money. LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer research.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can help, visit the Fly4ACure website.

For more information about the Fly4ACure Kite Festival, click here.

Visit Fly4ACure's Facebook page.

Contact Joy Shrum at

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