By Sue Wambolt, Contributing Writer
Westborough – Michael Richton, Judd Schneider and Tony MacDonald not only grew up together, but all have had friends and family affected by leukemia. Each has spent years contributing to various charities, but decided it would make sense to pool their efforts and resources. As a result, they founded StopLeukemia, a 501(C)(3) organization dedicated to providing financial assistance to families affected by the disease as well as to raising awareness about the bone marrow donor registry.
“We promote awareness of individuals fighting this disease by posting our stories and others on our website and at events,” Richton said. “We are also trying to raise awareness of the bone marrow/stem cell registry, which we have been able to get many individuals to sign up to the donor list.”
Fundraising for StopLeukemia consists of a yearly fundraising event and online T-shirt sales. Proceeds go directly to Dana Farber Office of Patient and Family Assistance and the Andrew Sarkisian Memorial Scholarship Fund. Sarkisian was a college friend from Westborough who died of T-cell Acute Lymphoblastic leukemia.
“It is very rewarding for me to give back and support Dana Farber because they have done so much for my mother [a leukemia survivor] and our family, as well as so many others. Also, by giving directly to the office of Patient and Family assistance, I know that every dollar we donate is helping families directly,” Richton explained.
With millions fighting leukemia each year comes an entire network of people who are affected, including fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, spouses, friends and co-workers. Richton, Schneider and MacDonald have all come in touch with the disease in a personal way and are working to provide personalized support for those impacted. Through StopLeukemia, they aim to “promote leukemia awareness and to offer a forum for both survivors and those who have lost loved ones so they can share their stories and seek support for the many financial and emotional hardships associated with the disease,” according to the website stopleukemia.org, where there is also more information about the organization.