Lila Javan is a Los Angeles cinematographer, a Venice resident a two-time cancer survivor and a mountain climber and a documentary film maker working to utilize her experience as a way to change lives.
Javan was first diagnosed in 2010 with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), which is the second most common type of leukemia diagnosed in both adults and children, according to Conquer Cancer Foundation.
Her film about her journey to climbing Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania will help raise funds for cancer research.
“I was 39 at the time, and was a marathon runner in my early thirty’s, I had always been active,” said Javan. “I was working a lot and now when I look back at it, I remember I could feel my blood running through my body in an unusual kind of way.”
Javan was told that sixty percent of her blood was cancerous and she was sent to UCLA Westwood to start treatment right away. There she received a bone marrow transplant and went into remission.
Four and a half years later she planned to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, but the trip was postponed. She was and was diagnosed again with AML in 2014. She was back at UCLA and in the hospital hung a picture of Kilimanjaro to keep her motivated and determined.
“I love to travel and do things that challenge my physically. I also learned through this experience that everything I want to do in life, I should do it now,” said Javan.
After another bone marrow transplant she achieved remission and reached out to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to see how she could turn her dream of climbing Kilimanjaro into a fundraising event.
“It was not easy getting back to life, but I got lucky with all the support I had from family, friends, and strangers,” said Javan.
The idea of climbing a mountain lead to the slogan, Climb to Cure, and is now a fundraising event for the LLS organization.
The LLS is the worlds largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The organization hopes to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma and be able to improve the quality of life of patients and their loved ones.
Javan made it her goal to raise $19,341, equal to the mountaintop, and she surpassed that amount and raised a little over $120,000. Not only did she raise a significant amount of funds for LLC, she also traveled with a team that included her oncology doctors, nurses from UCLA and friends. Together they climbed the 19,341 foot mountain from Jan. 4 – 14.
The team also became the first official Climb to Cure team, and she inspired other adventure seekers to join in on the movement and hike Kilimanjaro this year. The new groups are bing trained by national climbing coach, Mike Phipps.
Javan has been cancer free for a year and a half and is already looking forward to another adventure.
“I really think that everyone can make an impact on someone. Even with so much negativity going on in the world today, I believe I and anyone else can inspire people,” said Javan.
Visit www.climb2cure.com for more information.