WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., April 8, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) and Novartis are teaming up to raise awareness about Ph+ chronic myeloid leukemia (CML), the blood cancer that National Basketball Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was diagnosed with in 2008.
During half-time at the April 9 Los Angeles Lakers game at the Staples Center, Abdul-Jabbar will take center court for the first shot in the "CML Skyhook Challenge," starting the countdown clock to raise $38,387, matching his NBA-leading life-time record of 38,387 points in 1,560 games.
Abdul-Jabbar will be joined by a group of fellow CML survivors, who will be invited to the game and to join the half-time festivities. The basketball legend will encourage fans at the game and at home to play the Skyhook Challenge via their mobile devices. By texting KAJ to 72645 participants will receive a series of questions about CML, Abdul-Jabbar's career and LLS. The game will also be available online at www.skyhookchallenge.com. Each correct answer is worth one point; players can answer more than one question. Once the Challenge registers 38,387 points, Novartis will donate $38,387 to LLS to support blood cancer research and patient services. The contest will take place until the total fundraising goal is reached. LLS is encouraging supporters to not only play the game but to keep the fundraising going by donating online at www.lls.org/skyhookchallenge.
"We are thrilled to have the support of legendary basketball star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to help us raise awareness about blood cancers and the important work being done by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society," said Lisa Stockmon, LLS executive vice president and chief marketing officer. "Kareem's message of hope is so inspirational and will help us bring more attention to the urgent need to fund research for breakthrough therapies, the only way we can achieve our goal of realizing a world without blood cancers."Since being diagnosed, Abdul-Jabbar has been a strong advocate for CML patients, encouraging them to understand their treatment milestones and actively talk to their physicians to ensure their disease is properly managed. Ph+ CML is characterized by an abnormality known as the Philadelphia chromosome, which produces a protein called Bcr-Abl, identified as the sole cause and driver of CML.