Actor Bryan Cranston and a Beverly Hills High School senior fighting cancer were among those who attended a “Celebration of Survivorship, On Track for a Cure” held Oct. 7 on the UCLA campus. The event benefited the UCLA Lymphoma program.
“There is a great need for more research of lymphoma,” said Cranston, who stars in the AMC series Breaking Bad.
The UCLA Lymphoma program treats 550 new patients each year, said Lauren Pinter-Brown, M.D., the director of the program. It's the only program in the Los Angeles area dedicated to treating lymphoma, a cancer of the body’s white blood cells.
The Sunday event honored patients, family and supporters of the program.
“While the fight for a cure continues, there have been great successes and we want to celebrate for the people we have treated,” Pinter-Brown said.
More than 200 people walked the track at UCLA’s Drake Stadium to honor lymphoma patients and survivors. Westwood restaurant Sunnin Lebanese Cafe donated lunch, while Beverly Hills resident Lynda Resnick donated 300 bottles of Fiji water.
Anton Saleh, a BHHS senior, celebrated four years of survivorship. Saleh is being treated for cutaneous lymphoma, an usual type of the disease that develops in the skin. The average age of diagnosis is the early 60s, according to the Cuteanous Lymphoma Foundation.
“It is important to bring awareness to this disease and to realize that life can go on after a diagnosis,” said Saleh, who plays on the BHHS football team, serves as senior class president and is president of Teen BHEF (an offshoot of the Beverly Hills Education Foundation). His mother Annette, is president of BHEF.
Several BHHS seniors and Beverly Hills residents attended to support Saleh.
“It is shocking to see one of your best friends get lymphoma,” BHHS senior Jack Wagner said. “But it has not slowed Anton down—his tenacity is remarkable.”
Emma Gregory, a BHHS senior who has known Saleh since second grade, said Saleh’s diagnosis has made him even more focused.
“He thinks about his life and what he really wants,” Gregory said.
BHHS students Louis Ochoa, Eduardo Ochua and Brian Charles also attended, as did Beverly Hills residents Tess Berger and Devon Swartz, seniors at the Archer School for Girls in Brentwood.
To make a tax-deductible donation to the UCLA Lymphoma Program, go to www.ontrackforacure.org and click on donate/register. For more information about lymphoma, visit the Lymphoma Research Foundation website or the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society website.