Leukemia, Lymphoma and Other Blood Cancers: Reasons to Hope

According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), someone is diagnosed with a blood cancer every three minutes in the United States and someone dies of a blood cancer related disease every 10 minutes. Blood cancer diagnoses account for approximately 9.4 percent of all cancer diagnoses in the country. Leukemia is the most common cancer in young adults, adolescents and children. From 2007 to 2011, leukemia represented 26.9 percent of total cancer diagnoses in the younger than 20 age group. With statistics like these, it’s easy to become discouraged. There is, however, reason for hope. Here’s why.

Promising New Treatments

Research and advanced medical treatments have improved the lives of countless victims, both improving the quality of their lives and increasing survival rates. In fact, new treatments have improved the five-year survival rate  for children diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia under 15 years of age from 57 percent in 1975 to 92 percent in 2010. Similarly, adults  with leukemia have a five-year survival rate that’s more than quadrupled since 1960.

Medical research is key to treating blood cancers and developing drugs and therapies to combat them. LLS is the world’s leading nonprofit group dedicated to fighting blood cancers. LLS supports research to find a cure, ensures treatment access for patients and supports patients and their families.

The LLS Story

In 1944, Robbie Robert Roesler de Villiers, the son of a prominent family in New York, died of leukemia at the age of 16. His heartbroken parents, Rudolph and Antoinette de Villiers, started a leukemia fundraising and educational organization called the Robert Roesler de Villiers Foundation in 1949. In the 1940s and into the 1950s, when the first chemotherapy drugs began to appear, leukemia was 100 percent fatal. The de Villiers believed that leukemia and related blood cancers were curable. The organization steadily grew. The Foundation was renamed The Leukemia Society of America in the 1960s and later became the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Throughout the years, scientific advisors and researchers affiliated with LLS have led groundbreaking research and developed new treatments in a quest to cure blood cancers.

In 1946, William Dameshek, M.D., participated in studies of nitrogen mustard, now considered the first anti-cancer chemotherapy drug, as a blood cancer treatment. George H. Hitchings, Ph.D., developed two of the first and most widely used drugs to combat leukemia in the 1940s and, in 1988, won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine. Other pioneering LLS affiliates include James Holland, M.D., E. Donnall Thomas, M.D. and Geoffrey M. Cooper, Ph.D. 

Thirty years ago, patients like young Eli in Indianapolis, who has been cancer-free since October 2013, and Matt Lampson, a professional soccer player diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin lymphoma , would probably not have survived. Today, thanks to organizations like LLS and the thousands of volunteers who support research and engage in fundraising, blood cancer patients live longer and better lives.

Distracted Driving Kills

According to Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving accidents in 2013 and more than 1,000 were in their teens or twenties. What’s more, 424,000 people were injured due to distracted driving. Alex Perdikis of Koons Automotive believes that raising awareness is key to reducing the number of traffic deaths and injuries from distracted driving. Perdikis says, “It only takes a second to make a dangerous  and potentially life changing mistake.”

A Second That Lasts a Lifetime

During last April’s Distracted Driving Awareness Month, Maryland State Police conducted an experiment to illustrate what happens in this “technological epidemic.” They constructed a track using cones and asked student drivers to drive the track while using their cell phones. Not one driver going 25 miles per hour was able to stay within the cones while using a phone. Interestingly, when the officers performed under the same test, the results were the same. No officer stayed within the cones while using a cellphone, even at a relatively slow speed of 25 miles per hour. Imagine what happens at faster speeds.

According to government statistics, a driver’s eyes are off the road for an average of five seconds while texting. If a car is traveling 55 miles per hour, five seconds is enough time to drive the entire length of a football field.

Maryland law has severe penalties for those who text or talk on the phone and cause serious injuries. Offenders face up to $5,000 in fines and three years in prison. Police officers also conducts aggressive enforcement campaigns during Distracted Driving Awareness Month as well as other times throughout the year.

It’s Not Just Cell Phones

Much of the confusion about distracted driving comes from misconception that distracted driving is only about cellphone use. In fact, distracted driving has been a problem since cars were invented. Eating and drinking in the car, talking to passengers, adjusting the radio and personal grooming are all activities that distract and could potentially cause an accident. Even driving related activities, such as using a navigation system, distract drivers. Anything that diverts a driver’s attention from the road is a potential danger.

Tips for Avoiding Distracted Driving

Distractions are everywhere, but with extra preparation and planning, you can reduce the urge to use your phone or engage in other activities that take your eyes and mind off the road. Follow these useful tips.

  • Store loose objects, such as cups, snacks and phones in a zipped container out of arm’s reach.
  • Check your navigation system and decide on your route before you head out.
  • Get behind the wheel fully dressed and completely groomed – don’t shave, put on makeup or finish getting dressed while you drive.
  • Ask your passengers to help you keep your eyes on the road and reduce distractions.
  • Make sure pets and children are safely secured before hitting the road. If they need attention, pull safely to the side of the road, stop and take care of the problem.
  • On long drives, stop to eat and take a break.
  • If you’re an adult, be a shining example of what it means to drive without distractions. Young people aren’t the only guilty parties when it comes to distracted driving.

Here’s Chevy Chase

When Alex Perdikis says his hometown is Chevy Chase, Maryland, people unfamiliar with the area chuckle. For most Americans, Chevy Chase brings to mind the famous  comedian, actor and writer who has appeared in numerous films and television shows. Alex enjoys the joke. He is, after all, a fan himself.

Beginnings

Cornelius Crane Chase, dubbed “Chevy” by his grandmother, was born in 1943 and raised in New York. Born into an affluent family, divorces and remarriages provided an unstable home environment in which Chevy struggled. He discovered his knack for slapstick comedy and hilarious pratfalls while in college. Musically gifted with perfect pitch, he played drums in a college band with future Steely Dan founders Donald Fagen and Walter Becker. Chevy’s real calling was comedy, however. In 1967 he co-founded an underground comedy group called Channel One. He also wrote for Mad Magazine. In the early 1970s, he landed a writing job for the “Smother Brothers” comedy show. Moving to comedy full time in 1973, he became a National Lampoon Radio Hour regular. In 1975 he was cast as one of the original members of “Saturday Night Live.”

Hollywood Beckons

Chevy Chase left “Saturday Night Live” after one season. His first major film role was in 1978’s “Foul Play,” with Goldie Hawn. Chase was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his performance. Hawn and Chase reunited  in the film “Seems Like Old Times” two years later.

An electrical accident during the filming of the 1980 film “Modern Problems” left physical and emotional scars. Chase battled depression and drug addiction. The 1983 year was a turning point, however, when Chase was cast in arguably his most iconic role, Clark Griswold, in the first “National Lampoon’s Vacation” film. Written by John Hughes and directed by Harold Ramis, the film starred Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, John Candy, Anthony Michael Hall, Christie Brinkley, Randy Quaid and Dana Barron. The film was a huge hit with both critics and audiences, earning more than $60 million in the United States alone. The film was the first in a series and critics consider it the best.

Chase has appeared in numerous other films, including “Fletch,”” Spies Like Us,” “The Three Amigos,” and “Funny Farm.” He has also narrated documentaries and voiced animated characters. He hosted the Academy Awards twice. At the peak of his career, he earned approximately $7 million per film.

Coming Back

The 1990s were not as kind to Chase. He starred in three films, “Nothing but Trouble,” “Memoirs of an Invisible Man” and “Cops & Robbersons,” none of which were successful. It was television that would revitalize his career, however. In 2006, Chase appeared as a murder suspect in an episode of “Law & Order,” had a recurring role in “Chuck” and voiced a character on “Family Guy.” He starred in the sitcom “Community” from 2009 to 2012.

Ford Keeps Its Tech Edge With Second Generation

Ford is causing a lot of buzz with its second generation of Edge, slated to be launched as the 2015 model. This car will utilize modern automobile technology to its fullest, setting the bar and offering a hopeful glimpse of the future of driving.

Exceeding some of the other technologically advanced cars on the market, the Edge will feature the newest engineering achievements in what is called “Driver Assist Technology.” Bells and whistles such as a Collision Warning System, Active Parking Assistance, Adaptive Power Steering and a 180-degree rear view camera are designed to promote safety and ease in the vehicle’s day-to-day use. Many of these features are controlled from a fancy 10-inch touch screen monitor or via hands-free voice activation.

The Active Parking Assistance is one of the more remarkable features, utilizing a whopping 12 ultrasonic sensors to aid the driver in multiple scenarios. For example, in perpendicular parking, the car will not only scan for suitable parking spots, it will also steer the car into position. Incredibly, all the driver has to do is accelerate, brake and shift.

The car uses similar methods to deal with parallel parking, much to the joy of those who struggle with this often-botched maneuver. All a driver has to do is drive slowly, and the car will alert the driver to stop when a suitable parking spot is found. When it’s time to go, park-out assist will help a driver squeeze out of a parallel park, signaling when the car gets too close to another vehicle.

Other new safety features include inflatable seat belts, glove box mounted air bags and a hands free liftgate. There is also the optional Lane Keeping System that uses front-mounted cameras to scan the road. These cameras alert the driver by vibrating the steering wheel if the car starts to drift out of lane.

The BLIS (Blind Spot Information System) with Cross-Traffic Alert uses two hidden rear-mounted sensors to warn the driver about vehicles in blind spots. Adaptive Cruise Control can automatically slow the car down if it detects that traffic ahead is reducing speed. The vehicle’s suspension has been redesigned to cut down on noise and movement from road bumps.

The new Edge also receives a serious external makeover. The car is being built on Ford’s solid and reliable 2013 CD4 Platform. Mimicking the design of the wildly popular Fusion, the grill and headlights have been updated and the entire body has aerodynamic smoothness, looking more like a big, roomy luxury car than a boxy sport wagon. There’s a sleek BMW-style air-curtain on the front bumper, and the wheel wells look like soft clouds above the tires.

Hitting dealerships early next year, the Ford Edge will come in four styles, SE, SEL, Sport and Titanium, and three engine configurations: a 2.0 liter V4, a 2.7 L V6 and a 3.5 L V6.

How Coaching and Managing Go Hand in Hand

When everything is on the line, it’s the coach’s job to lead a team to victory. All of the hard work and effort over the past couple of weeks, months, or even years all comes together to create a group of committed individuals ready to work hard and take home a win.

Life at a car dealership is similar. Instead of a coach, management takes up the torch, working with employees to create a successful team. For Alex Perdikis, managing partner at Koons of Silver Springs, coaching his team has resulted in big wins and public recognition. According to Perdikis, preparation is a key ingredient for any winning dealership.

Perdikis was no stranger to sports and hard work. He worked hard as a linebacker for the University of Richmond before succumbing to a spinal injury that kept him off the field. Despite being absent from the game for his senior year, he still walked away with lots of knowledge that propelled him to success in the future.

In the same way that athletes spend time practicing and improving their skills, employees at a dealership work together to improve their processes and offer customers the best experience possible. For Perdikis, being prepared means showing up to morning meetings with a game plan, discussing the best possible leads of the day and giving direction to everyone in attendance.

In reality, Perdikis took over a losing team. When he became managing partner in 2011, the dealership had only been acquired the year before and it was struggling. Sales were low and the profit margins were small. Today, the dealership sells almost twice as many cars as it did back in 2011.

Recently, Alex Perdikis Koons of Silver Springs was named Automotive News “40 Under 40.” Every year 40 individuals are honored for their achievements at various dealerships across the United States. He was honored because of the turnaround he headed up at the Koons’ Ford-Mazda dealership.

Since the transformation of the dealership, Perdikis has been seen as a leader in more ways than one. Aside from the dealership success he has engineered, he has also worked hard to become a business leader in the community. In April, he joined other Ford dealerships in recognizing the month as Distracted Driving Awareness Month. In June, he finished up his work as the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man of the Year fundraiser, bringing in $146,000 to help with research and treatments.

It isn’t just about coaching a group of individuals on how to handle car sales. Instead, Perdikis is working to become a coach that leads by example, balancing out his time between his family, work and the community around him. There is more to any coach than just winning. There is a bigger picture that needs to be considered. Whether helping to get the kids ready for school in the morning or enjoying a game of golf in the afternoon, Perdikis strives for excellence.

Alex Perdikis Honored As One Of Automotive News “40 Under 40”

Alex Perdikis has become a driving force in the automotive industry and his contributions to both business and charity have not gone unnoticed. The 39-year-old dealership owner has just been honored with the accolade of being named one of Automotive News “40 Under 40” best young managers within the industry.

The “40 Under 40” is an annual recognition program that honors America and Canada’s 40 top achievers in the new car dealership sphere who are under the age of 40. Nominations from both regions are evaluated and the top performers are identified from a selection of those who have enjoyed major success in the automotive industry. The dynamic team of 40 chosen to receive the prestigious accolade are then profiled in the July issue of Automotive News, a leading weekly publication that covers all happenings in the automotive industry.

Alex Perdikis Koons history goes back more than two decades, and since he took over the struggling Silver Spring dealership, he has successfully created a thriving business that continues to grow. Alex is credited with taking the beleaguered Mazda-Ford dealership and turning it into Jim Koons Automotive’s second most successful franchise in the entire 16 store nationwide network, and he continues to promote his store via his charitable work and sporting involvement.

Since Alex took over the Silver Spring dealership, he has grown sales from the approximately 39 Mazdas and 56 Fords sold back in 2010 to an average of 60 Mazdas and 100 Fords a month. He has also pushed up the sales of pre-owned vehicles and sells more than 120 month, in comparison to the 52 previously sold. Employing over 100 people, Alex Perdikis Koons dealership doesn’t just focus on sales of new and pre-owned vehicles: it also stocks parts and offers a full in-house service.

His Silver Spring dealership is also renowned for treating its vast employee base extremely well and in 2014, for the fourth year in a row it was voted “Best Place to Work” by the Washington Business Journal. Alex’s commitment to service is evident in everything he does and his contribution to both the motor industry and a selection of charities has been astounding.

In just under four decades, he has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for those less fortunate and was recently elected as candidate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Man and Woman of the year program. His public profile has helped him not only grow his extensive automotive business and to boost Koons sales figures, it’s also been put to good use in a philanthropic way and it seems that Alex is no stranger to accolades that are very well deserved.

Alex now joins the “40 Under 40” hall of fame and is definitely one of the industry’s top performers in every sphere, and his passion for the motor industry is evident in everything he does.

Alex Perdikis and the Benefits of Giving Back

A 2014 candidate for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s “Man of the Year” fundraising campaign, Alex Perdikis embodies charitable giving and volunteer work. Raising money and awareness for cancer is near and dear to his heart because Perdikis has watched his wife battle the devastating disease in the past.

Money from the Man of the Year fundraising campaign will go to the fight against all types of blood cancers, allowing for the advancement of treatments and therapies that can help save lives and increase the blood cancer survivor rate. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) has 61 chapters across the United States and Canada and offers education, support and free blood cancer information to families, patients, survivors and healthcare professionals. The organization advocates for survivors and their families, helping them understand cancer treatments and making sure everyone has access to affordable, quality care.

Due to the overwhelming success of his grassroots fundraising blitz, Perdikis finished the Man of the Year contest as the first runner-up, having raised over $146,000 along with his team captains.

Perdikis has used his career success as general manager and partner of Koons of Silver Spring car dealership, plus his high-profile in the community, to garner awareness for a variety of charities over the years. His car dealership serves as an active partner in the Greater Washington D.C. area community outreach, and Perdikis is proud to give back to the community through his business. In 2013 during the government shutdown, Perdikis and his managers offered furloughed federal workers free tire rotations, oil chances, and inspections simply because, as he put it, “It was just the right thing to do.”

That philanthropic spirit has driven Perdikis to support many organizations, including the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the American Cancer Society, Hope Rising and the Hurricane Katrina Relief Fund. In addition to his countless hours of volunteer work with local charities in Silver Spring, Maryland and surrounding areas, Perdikis has also found time to serve on the Washington Area New Automobile Dealers Association board of directors.

Alex Perdikis Koons of Silver Spring success even got him recognized as one of Automotive News’ “40 Under 40,” drawing even more attention to his charity work. This annual program recognizes new-car dealership high achievers who are still under 40 years old, and Automotive News evaluates nominations from both the United States and Canada.

Perdikis thanked his team at Koons of Silver Spring, and says he owes much of his success to those managers and employees who have made it what it is today. Due to this sense gratitude and acknowledgement of the team spirit, Koons of Silver Spring was chosen by the Washington Business Journal as one of the “Best Places to Work” in 2014. This was the fourth year in a row that the dealership has enjoyed this honor.

Biography: Alex Perdikis

Described as someone who brings a positive attitude, discipline, high energy and the ultimate work ethic to business, Alex Perdikis has established a solid foundation in the automotive industry and used his skills to promote charities and raise funds for the less fortunate.

A driving force in the automotive world, Alex has worked hard to boost his reputation and regularly conducts interviews with major news channels in an effort to boost and manage his reputation. His self-promotion includes highlighting the charity work that he does and he has recently been asked to stand as a candidate for “Man of The Year” awards for his work with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

It is fundraising campaigns such as this and the many other charities that Alex has drummed up support for that has kept his reputation so positive, and his automotive business in the public eye. He also has organization memberships with Down Syndrome Network and The First Tee and is an active supporter of many other charities such as Hope Rising, American Cancer Society, The Mike Davis Foundation and Cure Autism NOW, as well as many others he has been involved in philanthropic work and fundraising for.

A first generation Greek-American and the son of a Greek diplomat, Alex was born on February 7, 1975, and raised in Bethesda, Maryland. From a young age he enjoyed making money and was often involved in helping out with the family business.

After finishing high school, Alex attended the University of Richmond, where he majored in business and played football, a game that he has called his “first love.” During his summer holidays in Maryland, he started working in a car dealership, keeping the cars clean for the showroom floor. Immediately drawn to the automotive business, Alex realized that many of the skills he had learned at Richmond and on the football field could be applied in the industry.

Graduating from the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business at the University of Richmond in 1997, Perdikis made his first foray into the automotive industry and began working in every facet of the dealerships operations. He had previously served as a detailer, service assistant and lot porter and with his business studies background he was now able to move into accounting. He started working in Koons Lincoln/Mercury Volvo in the accounting department and became part of the Koons of Tysons Corners sales team. In just over three months, he became the organization’s top salesman of all 16 Koons franchises and was promoted to sales manager. In December of 2000, he completed his studies at the N.A.D.A Dealer Candidate Academy and was elected class president, and went on to take the position of General Manager at his Koons branch in 2001.

In his 16 years of service with Jim Koons Automotive Company, Alex Perdikis served as executive vice president, directed three different branches and became the highest seller of Chrysler and Chevrolet in the whole of the mid-Atlantic region. Alex Perdikis Koons service also saw him net the franchise a number of prestigious industry awards, and he served on the Washington area Chevrolet Local marketing Dealer Board for four years. In 2011, it was time for Alex to take the next step in his lengthy Koons career and he became a partner and assumed general manager (GM) responsibilities in the newly opened branch of Koons of Silver Spring.

Koons Silver Spring services and sells new Lincolns, Mazdas and Fords and also boasts a massive pre-owned selection of vehicles. Alex has grown the business to include a full-service dealership that also comprises of a parts and body-shop business. In the past four years, the Silver Spring branch has become the fastest growing dealership in the whole of the Washington area and has over 120 employees.

Alex Perdikis Koons dealership popularity has been boosted by his massive contributions to charitable organizations and he has used his philanthropic activities to his advantage, both to grow his reputation and to help raise funds for a number of charities. Family is also very important to Alex. He married his high school sweetheart and they have three daughters. In his free time, when he’s not spending time with his family, he still enjoys watching football, playing basketball and working out.