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Abdul-Jabbar to start cancer research fundraising campaign at Laker game

City News Service | 4/9/2013, 8:28 a.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will launch a fundraising campaign for blood cancer research during halftime tonight, when the Los Angeles Lakers will meet the New Orleans Hornets at Staples Center.

Abdul-Jabbar will take to the court to start the countdown clock for the Chronic Myeloid Leukemia Skyhook Challenge to raise $38,387, matching the record number of points he scored in his NBA career.

He was diagnosed with the disease in 2008.

Abdul-Jabbar will encourage fans to play the Skyhook Challenge via their mobile devices. By texting KAJ to 72645, participants will receive a series of questions about chronic myeloid leukemia, his career and the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. The game will also be available online at skyhookchallenge.com.

Each correct answer is worth one point. Once the challenge registers 38,387 points, the pharmaceutical maker Novartis will donate $38,387 to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society to support blood cancer research and patient services. The contest will take place until the total fundraising goal is reached.

Donations can be made at lls.org/skyhookchallenge.

Since being diagnosed, Abdul-Jabbar has been a strong advocate for chronic myeloid leukemia patients, encouraging them to understand their treatment milestones and actively talk to their physicians to ensure their disease is properly managed.

Chronic myeloid leukemia is characterized by an abnormality known as the Philadelphia chromosome, which produces a protein called Bcr-Abl, identified as the sole cause and driver of the disease.

"Kareem's message of hope is so inspirational and will help us bring more attention to the urgent need to fund research for breakthrough therapies, the only way we can achieve our goal of realizing a world without blood cancers," said Lisa Stockmon, the society's executive vice president and chief marketing officer.