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DeAnn Hazey, CFRE

Executive Director, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

DeAnn has never had breast cancer. But nearly every woman in her family suffered from it. Four aunts passed away, her grandmother survived, and her birth mom was recently diagnosed and treated. Breast cancer was almost inevitable for DeAnn, so she did everything right. She kept up on screenings, she took care of herself in every way possible, and she lived her best life, while expecting breast cancer to come knocking at any moment. What she didn’t expect was uterine cancer instead. Still, she had a decision to make and a family to fight for.

Once you get over the initial shock of finding out you have cancer, it’s up to you to decide whether you’re going into survival or death-sentence mode. I chose survival.

Seven surgeries, countless complications, 88 medical providers and a hysterectomy later, cancer had stolen nearly two years of DeAnn’s life. But her conviction never faltered. DeAnn says your state of mind is a huge factor in how you get through it. Having a positive attitude is everything.

You have to put up your dukes and fight. The right attitude can change your whole treatment from start to finish.

At the time, there were very few resources for DeAnn to turn to. Still, as much as she suffered, she counts herself as one of the lucky ones. The struggle is so much more than cancer for most people. Many are faced with deciding whether to pay for medication or feed their children. It’s not a decision anyone should have to make. DeAnn made a promise to herself that if she made it through this, she would find and join an organization that supports cancer patients with the resources they need for not just surviving cancer, but for surviving everyday life.

If I make it through this, I will find ways to help as many people as I can every day.

Today, DeAnn is the Executive Director of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and is fulfilling her promise of helping people suffering from all types of cancer in every way she can. She says their focus is blood cancer, which affects nearly every type, including breast cancer, and in addition to discovering new treatments, the LLS also provides the kind of resources DeAnn never had. The LLS connects patients with social workers, dietitians and various cancer centers and they assist with things like medication and copays. She is truly working to change lives every single day. For DeAnn, turning her pain into purpose is the continued promise to herself that keeps her going #beyondstrong.

The Donna Foundation

Through a continued partnership with Dream Vacations and Celebrity Cruises, we came together to create limited edition #BEYONDSTRONG tees for both women and men. Ninety-five percent of proceeds support The Donna Foundation, a nonprofit organization funding groundbreaking research in tandem with the Mayo Clinic and providing economic assistance and emotional support to individuals living with breast cancer.