The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Newest Virtual Fundraising Innovation Fuels Much Needed Funding for Cancer Research & Support

In a world of uncertainty, one thing is for sure — cancer doesn’t stop during a global crisis. On Saturday, June 13, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) will host a trailblazing event, Big Virtual Climb – 61 stories and 1,762 steps up San Francisco’s iconic Salesforce Tower, to support LLS’s investment in groundbreaking research to advance blood cancer cures, and its first-in-class patient education and services, including financial support and clinical trial navigation.

John S. Greene, Senior Vice President of Production Engineering at Salesforce knows firsthand the devastation of cancer. He is an acute myeloid leukemia survivor and was given a 40% chance to live three years, when he was diagnosed in 2010. After several rounds of chemotherapy and a stem-cell transplant in 2011, he is cancer free.

As a member of the national board of directors for LLS, a global leader in the fight against cancer, and a longtime volunteer for its Patti Robinson Kaufmann First Connection Program, Greene has an urgent call to action for everyone across the country to take part in Big Virtual Climb, “In the average time it takes to climb one set of stairs, one person is diagnosed with cancer in the U.S. No matter where you live, no matter what your connection to cancer might be, we can all come together from our homes to make a difference for blood cancer patients, who face even greater challenges during this COVID-19 crisis.”

Anyone can participate in Big Virtual Climb by climbing stairs in their home or by replicating the challenge of climbing the Salesforce Tower’s 61 flights by taking 8,810 strides while walking or doing 600 chair step-ups using any chair to accomplish your climb. Once registered, LLS provides all the tools needed, including a heart-pumping music playlist with motivational messages, to fundraise and train to be ready for the big day. Here’s how it works:

  • Climb your way. On June 13, participants will gather virtually for an inspirational and uplifting Opening Ceremony before they’re sent off on a personal virtual climb, walk or run.  
  • Fundraise your way. Every dollar raised fuels LLS’s cutting-edge research to advance new and better cancer treatments, and to provide support for the 1.4 million people in America with blood cancer.
  • Train your way. LLS provides weekly training guides featuring famous staircases across the country so participants are well prepared and motivated.


Climb. Conquer. Cure.

“Cancer is tough, and having cancer right now is ever tougher,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, PhD, LLS president and CEO. “While we might not be together to climb to the top of a skyscraper, the COVID-19 pandemic won’t stop us from climbing at home, or responsibly in our communities. It won’t stop us from uniting as a force in the fight against cancer. On June 13, we’ll join together as ONE LLS across the country to show our support for cancer patients.”

LLS welcomes AbbVie as the inaugural National Presenting Sponsor for Big Virtual Climb. “We are honored to partner with LLS for this exciting, innovative approach that brings people together during a challenging time to support blood cancer patients and help advance cancer research,” said Byran Litton, VP of U.S. Oncology Operations at AbbVie. “We’re stronger together and, no matter what, we continue to take steps to end cancer.”

While Big Virtual Climb is LLS’s newest addition to its national fundraising campaign portfolio, LLS pioneered this novel charity climb approach 30 years ago in Seattle. All of LLS’s signature fundraisers have helped LLS invest nearly $1.3 billion in cutting edge research worldwide, fueling nearly every critical advancement in blood cancer treatment that spans the most promising science, including immunotherapy and personalized medicine. Importantly, many of these groundbreaking treatment approaches are now being tested in clinical trials for other cancers and diseases.

To learn more and join the fight against cancer with Virtual Big Climb, visit

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