The Vicki Via Dotson Leukemia Foundation

What is leukemia?

Leukemia is cancer of the blood cells. Blood cells are made by your bone marrow, which is the soft tissue in the middle of most bones. In leukemia, the bone marrow starts making too many white blood cells, and sometimes these cells don't work right. These cells keep growing when they are supposed to stop. They also grow faster than your other cells. Over time, these abnormal cells crowd out your normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.


What function do your blood cells serve?

Your white blood cells help your body fight infection. Your red blood cells make sure all your body parts have the oxygen they need. Your platelets keep you from bleeding too much. When the leukemia cells crowd out your normal cells, your blood cannot do its job. You may bleed or bruise easily, get sick more often, and feel very tired.


Are there different types of leukemia?

There are four main types of leukemia. Acute leukemia gets worse very quickly. People with acute leukemia often feel sick right away. Chronic leukemia gets worse slowly, and you may not have any symptoms until later on in the illness. Those two kinds of leukemia are divided according to which kind of white blood cells are involved, lymphocytes or myelocytes.


What causes leukemia?

Experts do not know what causes leukemia. They do not know why some people get it and others do not. It is likely that the different types of leukemia have different causes.  Research has shown that some people may be more likely to get leukemia. A risk factor is anything that raises your chance of getting a disease. Risk factors for leukemia include chemotherapy treatment, being exposed to large amounts of radiation or some chemicals in the workplace, and smoking/tobacco use.


How common is leukemia?

According to WebMD, Each year in the United States about 30,000 new cases of leukemia are diagnosed. It accounts for about one-third of all cancers in children younger than 15. Leukemia causes an estimated 22,000 deaths each year. It is the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths among men and the seventh leading cause of cancer deaths among women.


How can I help?

All proceeds from any fundraising we do goes directly to the Vicki Via Dotson Leukemia Foundation.  It was established in 1979 after the late Al Via learned that his daughter Vicki was diagnosed with Leukemia.  Instead of allowing the disease to blindly take his daughter, he began to fight back by hosting the area’s first Celebrity Golf Tournament.  After 38 years, this organization has raised over $750,000.00 for Leukemia research and has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to local area families in need, and Kick Masters has been fortunate enough to donate over $40,000.00. 


If you would like more information, or, would like to make a tax-free contribution to our studio's charity, please contact Linda Rando at 301-689-8664.