Chairman of the Board | What Does CLL Global Research Foundation Mean to You?

Steve Winfield
Chairman of the Board
CLL Global Research Foundation

CLL Global Research Foundation’s Chairman of the Board, Steve Winfield, discusses the power of the organization and how donations are used to advance CLL research and treatments.


Steve Winfield:

I’m Steve Winfield, the Chairman of the Board of CLL Global Research. We’ve been so powerful over the years. We literally have funded virtually all of the early research pre-pharma that’s led to current therapies. And we’re funding a lot of promising research to actually try to find cures as well as dealing with the really difficult parts of CLL such as Richter’s transformation and so forth. So, we’ve done a lot in our time.

We’ve changed a lot of people’s lives. We’ve extended many patients’ lives worldwide and improved the quality of life because the treatments that we’re interested in developing are not just to deal with the disease but they’re also to provide a full, normal life for people. So, it’s very important work.

The reason that I’m so excited about it and I think everyone is who understands how CLL Global works is that more than 95 percent of the money comes to CLL Global goes directly to research. So, that’s something for us all to be proud of as part of the organization that we’ve been able to have such low overhead that we’re literally donating almost every dollar that comes in directly to the research.

And the foundation was started by doctors that have been pioneers in the field. So, our Scientific Advisory Board plus our regular board, we have a lot of people who really understand the state of the art in research and the state of the art in developing the therapies for patients.

So, we know what to fund. So, that’s been really exciting. I also really like the fact that we’ve had a focus on trying to help young researchers as well. So, if there are promising – we try to find researchers from, again, around the world, bring them in either through direct research grants or even to bring them into MD Anderson, and then we help them. It’s like we’re building a legacy for the organization. So, we’re building up the young doctors that can carry this forward and continue until we find a cure for all forms of CLL. And we understand what happens, not just in CLL but we’re also funding – we’re dealing with the issues that surround secondary cancers when you have CLL.

So, many patients, myself included, have had other cancers that are directly linked to CLL, and we know that through our research. So, now we’re going after, “Why is that?” What can we do to prevent that from happening as well?” So, it’s really kind of a comprehensive cure system that we’re working to develop, so very interesting work.

It’s been an honor to work with the people that we have. I remember the first time that I met Michael Keating as a patient.

I came with just a notebook full of questions, and I was scared, and I had just been diagnosed, and I didn’t know anything about it. So, I did my own research and I tried to figure out “What is this all about?” And, after just literally peppering him with questions for an hour-and-a-half, at the end he said, “I have some advice for you. Why don’t you just let me do the worrying? Just get on with it.” And that led to our discussion about what CLL Global is and how people get involved. And, once I really learned about it, that’s when I became involved, roughly 10 years ago. So, I’m excited to be a part of it, and I’m really happy to donate my own money and time to the organization. It really goes to the right place.

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