Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Light in the Night raises $1M for blood disorders


Asalia Goldberg and her Cell Therapy team colleagues were waiting for the start of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light The Night walk in Mercer County, New Jersey, in late October when Asalia noticed a young man standing alone. A survivor, he carried a white lantern.

Asalia, never one to let anyone walk alone, waved him over and invited him to join her group. They naturally began chatting.

“We learned that this man received CAR T cell therapy. And not only that, it was BMS’ CAR T cell therapy,” she said. “As he shared his experience with us, his eyes gleamed with gratitude for the work we do,” said Asalia .

“And we were reminded of just how deep our impact runs.”

Asalia described the experience as "miraculous," and hers is one of many from the annual walks benefiting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), with which Bristol Myers Squibb has a long-standing partnership. We continue to outperform our fundraising and participation targets year after year. This year, we raised more than $960,000, exceeding our $850,000 goal. Almost 800 people (the goal was 700) took part in walks held across the country during the fall months. As a result of our efforts, the LLS designated a research grant in our honor this year to support health equity.

Rachel Howard, senior territory business manager, Oncology, has solemnly illuminated a gold lantern in memory of her mother, Ellen, for the past seven years. Whereas she initially felt extremely alone in the aftermath of her mother's death in 2016, her involvement in Light The Night has helped her build a community of people who understand the hurt and loss — and who share hope for a future free of blood cancers.

Rachel was asked to participate in the event's opening ceremony this year, in addition to serving as a team captain for the North Shore Chicago Light The Night walk in October. She and a few other participants were the first to light each of the colored lanterns — white for survivors, red for supporters, and gold for everyone else.

Rachel's mother was diagnosed with myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) in 2006 and has lived with the blood disorder for the past nine years. She was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia (AML) in 2015 and died in 2016 after a failed bone marrow transplant.

 “My mom did survive for a long time with blood cancer. But ultimately, there weren’t any other options for her.... And that’s why our work is so important and why I continue to be involved in Light The Night,” said Rachel .

As David Lin, senior vice president, U.S. Cell Therapy, and corporate walk chair of the company's Light The Night program, prepared to embark on the Morris County, New Jersey walk, he told his colleagues about a former coworker, a young woman diagnosed with multiple myeloma whom he hadn't seen in a long time.

 “I told my team I was going to be walking for her,” David said.

Meanwhile, this young woman, who has been in remission for the past seven years, saw her former colleague's name in the event program for the Morris County walk and reached out to him via LinkedIn.

A week later, the former coworkers were walking together in the Mercer County walk.

 “I actually think it was meant to be that I got reunited with a friend so I can better understand her journey and what it’s been like for her family,” said David.

“There’s just something about the total atmosphere at Light The Night that makes you say, ‘This is bigger than me. It’s bigger than the walk. It’s bigger than BMS.’ We are doing our part at BMS but we need all the parts to come together to make a real impact.”