What does it take to be a global leader in the fight against cancer? Troy Dunmire, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and Coker Powell, Chief Development Officer, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, share their prospective. Global leadership commands fierce purpose & passion, laser-focused mission, collaborative partnerships, and humility. But they go on to explain how embracing change is an opportunity. Tune in to discover how LLS adapted to change and was recognized as an innovator of the year.


January 26, 2023 – Episode # 72

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Raise 2022 Innovator of the Year

In the late 1940’s, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) made its debut as a fundraising and education organization. It was founded by Rudolph and Antoinette de Villiers following the passing of their son Robert “Robbie” Roesler de Villiers, who succumbed rapidly to leukemia in 1944. Robbie was 16 years young.

Originally known as the Robert Roesler de Villiers Foundation, the organization had humble beginnings with just a few volunteers, tiny budget, and small Wall Street office. Their mission seemed hopeless.  Most leukemia patients died within 3 months of diagnosis even with the introduction of the first generation chemotherapy drugs appearing by the mid-1950’s.  In its 1955 annual report the Foundation stated, ” As of this date, Leukemia is 100% fatal. This is almost a unique situation among the many diseases to which man is susceptible.

It was a formidable and heart-wrenching start. But, Rudolph and Antoinette were trailblazers, strong-willed, passionate, and boundless in their belief that leukemia and other blood cancers were curable. Driven by a fierce purpose and passion, the Foundation grew little-by-little and eventually opened its first chapter in New York City.

Guided by the same principles of its Founders, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is unwavering in its dedication to curing leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and other blood cancers. LLS is the world’s largest voluntary (nonprofit) health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. Since inception,. LLS has invested $1.6 billion in groundbreaking research, pioneering many of today’s most innovative approaches. The team works tirelessly and through a collaborative model with other organizations, scientists, patients, and volunteers to find cures and ensure patients can access lifesaving treatments, just as Rudolph and Antoinette did over 70 years ago.

In this episode, Troy Dunmire, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, and Coker Powell, Chief Development Officer, talk about leadership, dedication, and the LLS legacy.

Join Troy and Coker as they take listeners on a journey through recent change, innovation, achievement, and impact as they address:

To learn more about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society visit them at LLS
Read about The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Raise 2022: Raise Awards Honor Nonprofit Innovation and Dedication

Connect with show guests on Linked In: Coker Powell and Troy Dunmire

(If you are a nonprofit and would like to be a guest on Raise Nation Radio to feature your mission and impact, contact Dawn Lego.)