TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Shirley K. Turner and Fred H. Madden which would allow New Jersey residents to voluntarily contribute to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society when filing their State income tax returns was approved by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee today by a vote of 7-0.
“The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provides a number of services to patients living with the cancer and their families, and is dedicated to finding a cure,” said Senator Turner, D-Mercer. “They’re a strictly voluntary health organization that does so much to help the people of New Jersey. Now, the people will have a chance to give back, by filling out a voluntary contribution section on their annual gross income tax form.”
“The work being done at the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is expanding our knowledge of how blood cancers work, and how they can be best treated,” said Senator Madden, D-Camden and Gloucester. “The Society is also at the forefront of patient care and addressing quality of life issues for those diagnosed with one of the diseases, free of charge. To operate successfully, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society relies on donations from the general public, and our bill would give New Jerseyans an easy opportunity to support them in their mission.”
The bill, S-1679, would establish a special fund in the Department of Treasury, known as the “Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – New Jersey Fund,” and would create a designation on the State’s gross income tax form to allow taxpayers to voluntarily contribute. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the largest voluntary health organization in the world, and since its inception in 1949, has invested more than $424 million to research specifically targeting blood cancers, such as leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma. The society provides patient services, such as education and outreach to patients and their families, as well as support groups for those living with blood cancer and financial support for patients diagnosed with blood cancer and in significant financial need.
Currently, there are two New Jersey chapters of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society – one serving Northern New Jersey and the other serving the southern part of the State.
“On a local level, so many blood cancer patients are given the support and compassion they need at one of the most difficult times of their lives,” said Senator Turner. “Nationally though, the Leukemia & Lymphoma’s research arm has contributed so thoroughly to our understanding of blood cancer treatment and prevention. They are really a model for how an effective advocacy group can make a difference, and I hope that New Jerseyans see fit to support them through our proposed income tax designation.”
“This is an issue that really hits home, because leukemia deaths are becoming more and more prevalent in Gloucester County,” said Senator Madden. “Leukemia, lymphoma and the other blood cancers are not some far away problem, but are affecting our neighbors, our friends and our families. Thanks to the support from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, we are closer than ever to finding a cure, and I’m proud to be able to help them achieve that goal.”
The bill now heads to the Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee, before going to the full Senate for consideration.