In 2007, Team Eitel came to fruition when my father was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoma. That very year, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) became a very important part of my life. At the time of my Dad?s diagnosis, I did not know much about blood cancers, their severity, their destruction, or their ability to change hundreds of thousands of lives. My life was changed the day the doctor told me about my fathers??illness. I was 20 years old. It is very bold to say, but my life changed for the better, becoming more aware of the hundreds of thousands of individuals living, surviving with this cancer and most importantly seeing my father?s fight with this disease, not struggle. I am an extremely blessed man, to be able to stand here today and share the importance of your being here and the ability for you to change the lives of not just one individual but hundreds and thousands of them.
Team Eitel started out as just my immediate family in 2007, there were five of us, my mother, my father, my two older sisters and myself, we found ourselves supporting each other during a bone marrow transplant. My eldest sister just so happened to be the donor, she was of course – the best match, and a wonderful success it was. After we made it through the transplant and recovery, we felt it was time for all of us to do something. LLS had helped my family during the transplant and I eventually learned of the Light the Night walk. The Light the Night walk events for Team Eitel started with just a small team of us in 2009. At first it was just my father and a few very close friends of mine. It was my father?s ambition to get the word out and help others that really made Team Eitel what it was and is to this day. He is still the driving force of the team without a doubt. With his drive we grew from a team of just immediate family supporting each other – to a team of friends and friends of family, even acquaintances, educating and supporting one another on the cause. – (Taken from a speech given by Justin Eitel in 2013)
Team Eitel is not just one individual nor is it a select and closed group. Team Eitel is whoever feels a desire to support someone whether it be financially or emotionally, it’s not limited and can be any way they know how. It’s whoever chooses to educate and lend a helping hand to someone in need. At the end of the day #TeamEitel attempts to educate others and support the LLS while remembering that cancer does not define any one of us and we will fight relentlessly until we can find a cure.