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  • Efforts to Benefit Leukemia and Lymphoma Society a Family Affair for Shreveport Campus Criminal Justice Instructor and Daughters

    Contributed by Kristi Kohl, Campus Librarian

    Participating in Teams in Training (TNT) and helping to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) is a family mission for our Shreveport Campus Criminal Justice Instructor Randal Serrette and his daughters. TNT and LLS sponsor endurance events around the country, all focused on raising as much money as possible to help make a difference for cancer patients and their families.

    The Serrette Family's Battle with Leukemia
    Three short years after Mr. Serrette's youngest daughter, Elle, was born in 1994, she was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia. Elle spent many years battling the disease. She said, "When I should have been fighting nap time, I was fighting for my life. My childhood was spent bald and sick." But because of the progress and ongoing research supported by LLS, Elle was able to beat the disease and go into full remission.

    Mr. Serrette said, "We know too well what this disease can do to a child and a family. And we know that every day, so many children and families are in the same place we were in 14 years ago. I think of that every day. Somewhere right now, a dad or mom is caring for a child as that child is going through treatments or procedures. I cannot forget those days and how the difficulties were made bearable because of the support of family, friends, and LLS."

    Teams in Training (TNT)
    In 2007, Mr. Serrette participated in a cycling TNT. He trained for and cycled a 100 miles (known in TNT circles as a "century") at Lake Tahoe, in Nevada. Of the total $8 million raised during that year, Mr. Serrette raised more than $11,000. He is committed to doing it again in July 2012 and as often as he can.

    Although Louisiana's LLS does not currently sponsor a cycling TNT, Mr. Serrette's older daughter, Felice (a Teams in Training coordinator for the LLS Louisiana and Mississippi chapters) is working on organizing one.

    And in January 2012, Elle Serrette will be running in her own sports-endurance TNT event - a half-marathon at the Disney World Weekend Marathon event - in celebration of her 15 years in remission and 10 years as a survivor. Elle said, "I am running because I can and so many cannot. I am one of the lucky ones who beat this disease." Elle's fundraising efforts will go directly to LLS to help find cures and better treatments for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease, and myeloma.

    The Family's Past Efforts for LLS
    Elle has been "Girl of the Year" two times and "Teen of the Year" once for the "Acadiana Man and Woman of the Year" (MWY) event in Lafayette, Louisiana. In those roles, she served as ambassador for the annual LLS fundraiser and made appearances at other LLS events. In the two years that Elle was "Girl of the Year," the Lafayette chapter of MWY raised more than half a million dollars.

    In addition, Mr. Serrette has spoken at events to relate Elle's story and address the importance of LLS. He has also served as a steering committee member for the MWY for three years, recruiting candidates and organizing events. He continues to inform people about LLS and participate in fundraisers, and he always encourages his daughter Elle to share her story. He said, "We are very involved with the LLS. Have been, still are, and will be - forever."