Leukemia and Lymphoma Society honors local man

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CRANFORD, NJ — The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society recently honored John Kellenyi by naming a conference room at its New Jersey Chapter headquarters in Cranford after the volunteer, who raised $19 million for the organization. 

The longtime Maplewood resident, who died of cancer two years ago, volunteered with the national organization for decades, serving as chairman of its New Jersey Chapter board of trustees and raising millions of dollars for cancer research. Of all those who have raised money for LLS, he remains in the lead for the amount he raised, and now his name is on the entrance to the conference room.

“He knew all of the goings-on and how to think more creatively in how to work there,” Cristina Kellenyi, John Kellenyi’s daughter, said in a phone interview on Nov. 1. “It’s a place that really puts the patients first.”

Jana Boyer, executive director of the LLS-New Jersey Chapter, said in a Nov. 11 phone interview that the nonprofit organization funds research for cures for blood cancers, in addition to providing support services for patients and their families. The organization helps defray transportation costs and copays that aren’t covered by health insurance, and runs support groups for patients and their families.

“John means so much to all of us,” said Boyer, who worked with John Kellenyi. “He did so much to support the LLS. He was tireless in helping us with our mission.”

“Tireless” is one word to describe him — Cristina Kellenyi said her father ran 40 marathons as fundraisers for the LLS, and was influential in funding research for drugs that are now used in blood cancer treatments.

“It was important to him,” she said. “He was so encouraging and so supportive. He encouraged so many others to get involved.”

Photos Courtesy of Cristina Kellenyi