custom-flashlightWhen you were a kid, did you ever take a flashlight and aim it toward the ceiling to see the sphere of light it would cast? Or, use it to signal a neighborhood friend using Morse Code?  I do! I also remember the sound of my father’s voice saying “please turn the light off – we may need it some night!!”

Throughout time, man has used light to reveal those things that remain unseen in the dark. Perhaps a flaming torch or campfire dispelled the darkness, or as years passed, a candle or Whale Oil Lamp. In Victorian times, men were employed as Lamplighters and charged with ensuring that gas street lamps were lit in the evening to light the way for those in the community.  One pivotal discovery: fire, has served to take our society from being immobilized by darkness to 24/7 freedom in the night.

Your National CML Society, much like the Lamplighters of old, has a mandate to light the way for anyone who is on a journey with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia. Even our logo bears out that message of illumination.

When selecting images that best portrayed what the organization hoped to accomplish, many  were considered for their symbolism and ability to convey our message. One such image, a tree, made the list for its ability to represent renewal and life. Another, a pair of clasped hands,  signified comfort, sharing the load, and support. Ultimately, one image’s symbolism served to best encapsulate the mission of the NCMLS. That image was, and remains, a lantern.


If you study the image above, you will see a number of subtle clues that speak to how that mission is carried out. At first sight, some have said that it resembles part of a lighthouse, perhaps warning ships of dangers in the night waters. While that is a very appropriate symbol and one that  could very effectively  carry our message, some subtleties further signify the intimate manner in which the NCMLS goes about its work. First, the small “ring” at the top of the image is there to allow someone to carry the lantern. When one begins a journey in darkness, seeing the road ahead requires having a lantern. Secondly, the scattering beams of light coming from the lantern are not focused miles ahead as with a search light. Rather, they illuminate the next steps ahead. Focusing on next steps allows one to systematically make adjustments to their path and ultimately arrive at their desired destination without being overwhelmed with knowing every step all at once.

When a diagnosis of CML or some other  life altering event takes place, it’s as though we’re plunged into darkness with no light to see where to turn. Until someone comes along with a means of lighting the way, we struggle to take the next steps in our journey. Adequate illumination, guides our steps and lead us to safe waters as opposed to the abyss. Fortunately, for many of us, someone has come along to light the way. The NCMLS strives to do that very thing – help light the way.

Everyday, calls come from someone, somewhere, needing assistance and direction for the road ahead. When those calls come, your NCMLS springs into action to help light the way. That act does not come without a cost and we desperately need to grow our assistance programs so that they better meet the needs of our ever growing community. The NCMLS has made great strides over the past six years due to hard work and a wonderful group of volunteers, but we must do more. That’s why I would like to urge you to become a lamplighter yourself! Over the next few weeks, we invite you to sponsor a luminaria in honor or memory of someone affected by this disease. That luminaria will light the path that our lawmakers take on Capitol Hill and send a clear message that Drug Parity Legislation at a national level is not a luxury, but a necessity. Through your sponsorship, you help grow patient assistance resources through the society. Every dollar raised, goes directly to support urgent needs in our community. Educational programs and administrative costs are raised through other means so you can rest assured that your sponsorship will directly impact someone living with CML in the United States.

Click here to learn a number of ways you can support the CML community.

Become a LampLighter – Click here to sponsor a luminaria.

To learn more an upcoming event in Washington, D.C., click here.

Will you shine today?