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Doing my part to fight leukemia

  • Tori Dobias ’19
    brian mclean
August 13, 2018

This summer I’ve been lucky enough to be hired as a campaign intern for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Minnesota Chapter. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) is an amazing organization whose mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, myeloma, and to improve the quality of life for patients and their families. My job as a campaign intern is to help my department plan for one of our biggest fundraisers: Light The Night. This is an event that brings the community together to celebrate survivors and honor those that we have lost. It funds research to find blood cancer cures, and brings hope to many. I was first introduced to this organization when I attended this event in 2014 and here I am four years later, helping to plan it!

My main goals going into this internship were to gain a better understanding of how non-profits operate and to increase my speed when it comes to design projects. Although I haven’t done many design projects yet, I definitely think I’ve improved my efficiency. I’m still learning about how non-profits work though, and I think because with LLS there’s so many events and departments, I’ll need a lot longer than just the time of my internship to fully grasp how it all works.

Since I knew a little bit about LLS going into it, I’ve seen how the organization interacts with and supports cancer patients. But being in the office, I get to see just how far they reach. My boss is not only on a first-name basis with most of the participants, but knows their story and connection to blood cancer. It surprised me how LLS is so connected to the community. Employees in the office often meet with families or patients one-on-one, and I think that sort of support and advocacy from such a big organization is unique. I was also surprised at how much work goes into planning the event. There are so many factors you don’t think of when you’re a participant, so being on the other side has been eye opening.

I haven’t faced any serious struggles or concerns, but sometimes I find it hard to see the big picture when I’m working on smaller tasks. I have to remind myself that all the work I’m doing goes towards one big event, and that if even one person is impacted, educated, or inspired to attend the event then I’ve done something right. One thing I can improve on is asking more questions if I need clarification, and learning more about the inner workings of a non-profit, especially the financial aspect.

As an intern, I get to do a wide range of tasks! A few of the biggest ones I’ve done so far includes designing postcards that get mailed to participants, entering information into our database, reaching out to local businesses, and researching fundraising opportunities. It was so exciting to see a postcard I designed arrive in the mail the other day! I try my best to be proactive with tasks and work efficiently. Even doing some of the smaller tasks like putting together folders for an event can make my supervisor’s life easier. One interesting fact is that all employees in this office are women! So I find it a very empowering to work in an environment full of women who are compassionate, driven, and often have a personal connection to the cause. I think that my personality fits pretty well! It’s been a whirlwind of a summer so far, and I can’t wait to see the event some together in October.

Writer

Tori Dobias ’19