Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Brand Language Analysis

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Rhetorical Analysis of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society 2019 Annual Report

 The annual report of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) analyzes the progress, achievements, and impact of the organization over the course of the last year. The design of the document and the content leverages rhetorical strategies to emphasize the accomplishments of the organization. The mission, story, statistics, testimonials, and partnerships mentioned in the report include position the society as an integral part of progress.

Rhetorical Strategies & Stylistic Choices

 The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society leverages several rhetorical strategies to establish style, persuade the audience, and guide the reader through the text. One strong rhetorical strategy in the annual report is the parallel between fighting cancer and fighting war. War-related metaphors, a rhetorical strategy commonly referred to as warspeak, establish cancer as an enemy. Some phrases in the annual report include rhetoric associated with brutality and victory, insinuating that cancer must be conquered. According to the report, members believe “at LLS, beating cancer is in our blood” (LLS, 2019, p. 2).

Robert Myers, author of 'Warspeak' puts us all in the trenches, argues that warspeak is a device used to draw the attention of an audience. According to Myers (2019), “Words and phrases derived from war imagery crop up in advertisements, headlines and sports coverage. They’ve inspired an entire lexicon deployed on social media and in politics.” What Myers refers to as warspeak is prevalent throughout the annual report from the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. For example, in the report, a survivor describes how information she was “armed” with helped her survive: “I was armed with so much information. When you have information, you feel empowered.” (22). Another survivor “continues to battle the chronic side effects from his treatment “(p 10). According to Myers (2019), “There’s a reason why writers, talking heads and politicians deploy warspeak: It commands people’s attention in an increasingly frenzied and fractured media environment.” Throughout the text, war-related rhetoric not only establishes cancer as an enemy, but places LLS in the position of a pioneer on a battleground against cancer, an important rhetorical metaphor that is the basis for the LLS mission and “disrupting the status quo” (LLS, 2019, p. 9). Metaphors throughout the text strengthen the connection between cancer and war. Strong visuals also enhance pathos: “A diagnosis is a stumbling block, but there is light at the end of the tunnel” (LLS, 2019, p. 24). The visuals strengthen the images of survival and war, images that are relatable across cultures.














Another rhetorical strategy that establishes a personal style and strengthens the connection between curing cancer and war is the use of pronouns. The annual report from LLS includes the pronouns “we,” “you,” and “they” throughout the document to address the reader directly. The use of pronouns in the report create two distinct sides on the metaphorical battlefield on which cancer is fought: cancer, and the people fighting against cancer. Addressing the reader directly and referring to the community as part of the mission insinuates that readers are powerful members of the effort to cure cancer.
 In Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace, Joseph Williams and Joseph Bizup (2017) identified a similar approach to pronoun use in the Declaration of Independence. Thomas Jefferson used “he” when referring to King George “to make King George the active agent of every oppressive action” (p. 187). According to Bizup and Williams (2017), avoiding pronouns would have resulted in Jefferson avoiding blame; his argument was enhanced by the clarity that pronouns provided and the way he “matched the characters in his story to the subjects/topics of his sentences” (p. 187). Jefferson also used “we” to “assign agency to the colonists to focus first on their attempts to negotiate, and only then on their action of declaring independence” (Williams & Bizup, 2017, p. 188).

The LLS report takes a similar approach to assign responsibility to fight against cancer and to include the audience in that responsibility. The report begins with a direct address to readers: “You are part of our story—the story of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)—which begins with one family’s hope and will end with curing cancer in our lifetime” (LLS, 2019, p. 1). Then the report provides more details about the mission and the long-term plan to cure cancer: “We need to change fundamentally how children with cancer are treated. We need to advance new and efficient clinical trial models to deliver more breakthroughs, and importantly, we need to help patients access these trials. And we need to take bold action for patients against the staggering cost of cancer care” (LLS, 2019, p 3). The use of pronouns insinuates that the battle is personal, and repetition communicates a sense of urgency.

Visual and Multimodal Rhetoric


The annual report includes several examples of visual rhetoric that enhance ethos, pathos, and logos. Handwritten signatures from the organization president and the chair of the board personalize the document and increase ethos by demonstrating authenticity.
 The report also includes photos of people who have experienced the benefits of the work LLS does. Photos of cancer survivors are included throughout the document. A collage of survivors is also included on the first page to demonstrate that community is an integral part of the work the society does. Photos and testimonials also provide social evidence of the impact LLS has on communities, and pathos is strengthened by personal stories of recovery and loss. The images of recovered children also reinforce the organization’s ability to help others and demonstrate impact, increasing trust and the element of ethos within the document.












Statistics are also included with visual elements to provide proof of the impact of LLS and to guide the reader through the text. The visual elements included with statistics act as multimodal transitional cues. As shown to the right, the icons used above each statistic are visual signals for what the reader is about to encounter (LLS, 2019, p. 6).

The design of the text also guides the reader with visual rhetoric. Although the use of bulleted lists is a stylistic choice, the lists affect the visual weight and proportions of the text on the page. Bulleted lists and bold text to emphasize important achievements signal where the reader should spend more attention. Lists demonstrate the accomplishments of the society, and the shift in white space shows the impact with a change of visual weight that would not be achieved if the text was presented in one solid paragraph. The text is also optimized for F-pattern reading, a format that includes headings and text dividers to help readers skim text quickly (Pernice, 2017), to provide a smooth reading experience. Important elements are emphasized with bold text, a stylistic choice, that creates a specific visual rhetoric within the document in which important elements are embellished.



































Multimodal elements also strengthen pathos and ethos by providing social proof of the success of LLS. Images increase credibility by demonstrating the connections forged by the society in real life. In addition, personal and emotional stories are included to enhance the connection between the readers and the life-changing work the society does. For example, an image of a cancer survivor wearing a bracelet with the words “army strong” reinforce the metaphor of LLS as a successful force against cancer (shown to the right). According to the man wearing the bracelet image, LLS saved his life and allowed him to be with his daughter.

Quotes fortified with visual rhetoric such as bold quotation marks and deep red hues demonstrate the impact of LLS: “Without your financial and moral support, I wouldn’t be alive today” (LLS, 2019, p. 28). The bold red text correlates with the bold, innovative approach LLS takes to fighting cancer. According to the annual report, “LLS is disrupting the status quo with our bold vision: we want children not only to survive cancer, but thrive in their lives after treatment” (LLS, 2019, p. 9). Using bold quotation marks and colors draws attention to the examples and the impact the society makes on the community.

Rhetorical Strengths and Weakness of the Document

The document leverages warspeak effectively to define the mission of the society and the power of communities in the fight against cancer (without creating divisions within the community fighting cancer). In Warspeak: Militarized Rhetoric About COVID-19 Makes Everything A Battle And Turns Neighbors Into Enemies, writers from The Conversation (2022) argue that war-related language can exacerbate political divisions. Although warspeak can be polarizing, the language withing the annual report from LLS is clear that the only enemy is cancer, and the entire community seeks a cure: “Every facet of our mission is working in harmony to put patients first and address these priorities. As a global leader in the fight to end cancer, with your support, we press on with unwavering dedication” (LLS, 2019, p 3).

The document also successfully incorporates concise language to describe the mission of LLS. Phrases such as “cost-cutting” are concise and provide information with fewer words: “In 2017, LLS launched our Cost of Cancer Care Initiative with aggressive, yet feasible cost-cutting ideas that would save money without sacrificing quality care” (LLS, 2019, p .26). The document also begins sentences with main ideas to guide readers, and breaks style misconceptions about using “because” at the beginning of a sentence: “Because new breakthroughs are beneficial only if patients can access them, we are expanding our trusted education and support services—including resources for children and young adults with cancer and financial assistance programs—to help more patients, parents and caregivers navigate cancer treatments and access quality care” (LLS, 2019, p. 12). According to Williams and Bizup (2017), avoiding the word “because” at the beginning of a sentence is an invented style rule that can signal insecurity (p. 14). LLS prioritizes reader experience over style misconceptions. However, the repetition within the report used to create emphasis could be reduced, and there are some areas of the report that could be more concise. For example, phrases such as “simple fact” (LLS, 2019, p. 29) could be more concise. Although repetition is a stylistic choice, some of it could be reduced without weakening the sincere tone: “We need to change fundamentally how children with cancer are treated. We need to advance new and efficient clinical trial models to deliver more breakthroughs, and importantly, we need to help patients access these trials. And we need to take bold action for patients against the staggering cost of cancer care” (LLS, 2019, p 3).

Document Rewrites

Taking on Children’s Cancer from Every Direction: Fighting for Children with Cancer (LLS, 2019, p. 9)

Zach Guillot was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at the age of 5. Julie Guillot never imagined the harrowing struggle that would follow her eldest son’s cancer diagnosis. Zach endured brutal chemotherapy, radiation, fevers, unyielding nausea, and months confined to three different hospitals.

Inspired by stories about superheroes, Zach faced the daunting regimen with bravery for four years. However, the intensity of his treatments took a tremendous toll. Sadly, Zach passed away after his third bone marrow transplant.

Today, Julie is an influential parent advocate and LLS volunteer dedicated to finding safer therapies for children. “I won’t stop fighting for Zach. I am determined to do as much as I can so other families don’t have to go down this terrible path,” says Julie.

Delivering Cures and Better Care

For many childhood cancers, standard chemotherapies developed decades ago simply don’t work well enough. Survival rates for high-risk forms of blood cancer, such as AML, are especially poor, and too many children succumb to cancer. Children who survive are at risk for experiencing long-term effects from treatment such as life-threatening complications, secondary illnesses, and other types of cancer.

At LLS, we have a bold vision: we want children to thrive in their lives after treatment, not just survive. “Every young life lost to cancer is one too many. We must do better. With The LLS Children’s Initiative, we will,” says Gwen Nichols, MD, LLS Chief Medical Officer. That’s why we launched The LLS Children’s Initiative, a full-scale, multi-year endeavor to take on childhood cancer from every direction.

Taking on Children’s Cancer from Every Direction (cont.) (LLS, 2019, p. 10)
Overcoming Obstacles to Progress

Children have been treated with a one-size-fits-all approach to cancer treatment for too long, despite cancer behaving differently in children than in adults. “Children are not little adults; they need therapies that are designed just for them,” says Dr. Nichols. However, there has not been enough incentive to pursue pediatric drug development given the relatively small patient population.

Research, regulatory hurdles, access issues, and financial and geographic barriers stand between patients and proper care. Only LLS has the proven track record, leadership, and visionary supporters needed to usher in a new era of pediatric cancer care that relies less on chemotherapies that harm healthy cells in the body. Our goal is to revolutionize the standard of care for children with cancer and provide children with safer, more effective treatments.

 “When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it affects the entire family. The support we received from the two LLS programs helped us focus on taking care of King and made us feel less alone in our journey. King has been dealing with cancer for most of his young life, and has a long road ahead of him still. But we are hopeful that with LLS leading the charge, more children will survive cancer and thrive in their lives after treatment.”
  — Shameeza Singh, King’s mother

King was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) at
the age of 2. For three and a half years, King suffered through daily intravenous and spinal chemotherapy and took 75 pills per month. During this time, he experienced severe complications, including brain swelling, nerve damage, painful mouth sores. Although his family received support from LLS through our Urgent Need Program and Patient Aid Program, King continues to battle the chronic side effects from his initial treatment plan and has a lifelong genetic disorder called G6PD deficiency as a result. King and his family spend their time advocating and spreading awareness about pediatric cancer.

Taking on Children’s Cancer from Every Direction (cont.) (LLS, 2019, p. 12)

The LLS Children’s Initiative will provide with precision medicine and ensure children with cancer have access to quality care.

Driving New Breakthroughs Faster

LLS is increasing our investment in pediatric cancer research grants worldwide. Our areas of focus include:

• Harnessing the immune system to fight cancer
• Identifying biomarkers to improve cancer therapy
• Helping patients overcome treatment resistance
• Preventing relapse by improving detection of cancerous cells
• Mitigating the effects of long-term cancer treatment

LLS will also launch LLS PedAL in 2020, the first global precision medicine clinical trial for pediatric acute leukemia. The goal is to test multiple targeted therapies simultaneously at up to 200 clinical sites worldwide. LLS will unite physicians, scientists, regulators, advocacy organizations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and others to change the paradigm of treatment through an approach that puts pediatric patients first. Together, we will build upon our successful Beat AML® Master Clinical Trial and create a single set of pediatric cancer data that will be made available to researchers worldwide. Researchers will validate underlying molecular drivers of disease and match patients with treatments based on unique tumor biology.

Ensuring Access to the Best Care Possible

New breakthroughs are beneficial only if patients can access treatment. LLS is dedicated to helping children and families cope with the financial, emotional, and psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis through our resources, educational programs, and support. That’s why we are expanding our trusted education and support services—including resources for children and young adults with cancer—to help more patients, parents and caregivers navigate cancer treatments and access quality care.

LLS is co-chairing the Policy Committee of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, a coalition of more than 25 advocacy groups and professional organizations. Through our work with the coalition, we played an instrumental role in establishing the most comprehensive childhood cancer legislation ever introduced: The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access, and Research (STAR) Act. Our policy and advocacy efforts focus on breaking down barriers to care and accelerating the development of new cancer treatments.


Appendix (Original Pages)

Taking on Children’s Cancer from Every Direction
Fighting for Children with Cancer (LLS, 2019, p. 9)

Julie Guillot never imagined the harrowing struggle that would follow after her eldest son, Zach, was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) at the age of 5. For four years, Zach endured brutal chemotherapy, radiation, fevers, unyielding nausea and months confined to three different hospitals.

A fan of superheroes, he faced the daunting regimen with bravery. But the intensity of his treatments took a tremendous toll. Sadly, Zach passed away after his third bone marrow transplant. “I won’t stop fighting for Zach. I am determined to do as much as I can so other families don’t have to go down this terrible path,” says Julie. Today, Julie is an influential parent advocate and LLS volunteer who is dedicated to speeding safer, more curative therapies for children.

Delivering Cures and Better Care

For many childhood cancers, chemotherapies developed decades ago remain the standard of care and simply don’t work well enough. Too many children succumb to their cancer. Survival rates for high-risk forms of blood cancer, such as AML, are especially poor. For those who do survive, the long-term effects of treatment can cause life-threatening complications and secondary illnesses and cancers.

LLS is disrupting the status quo with our bold vision: we want children not only to survive cancer, but thrive in their lives after treatment. That’s why we launched The LLS Children’s Initiative: Cures and Care for Children with Cancer, a full-scale, multi-year endeavor to take on children’s cancer from every direction.

 “Every young life lost to cancer is one too many. We must do better. With The LLS Children’s Initiative, we will,” says Gwen Nichols, MD, LLS Chief Medical Officer.

Taking on Children’s Cancer from Every Direction (cont.)
Overcoming Obstacles to Progress (p 10)

For too long, children have been treated with a one-size-fits-all approach, despite cancer behaving differently in children than in adults. “Children are not little adults; they need therapies that are designed just for them,” says Dr. Nichols. But given the relatively small patient population, there has not been enough incentive for the private sector to pursue pediatric drug development.

Beyond research, there are regulatory hurdles and access issues, including financial and geographic barriers, which stand between patients and the care they need.
Only LLS has the proven track record, leadership and visionary supporters needed to usher in a new era of pediatric cancer treatment and care.

Our goal is to revolutionize the standard of care for children with cancer, providing them with safer, more effective treatments that rely less on chemotherapies that harm healthy cells in the body.
 “When a child is diagnosed with cancer, it affects the entire family. The support we received from the two LLS programs helped us focus on taking care of King and made us feel less alone in our journey. King has been dealing with cancer for most of his young life, and has a long road ahead of him still. But we are hopeful that with LLS leading the charge, more children will survive cancer and thrive in their lives after treatment. ”
 — Shameeza Singh, King’s mother

King was diagnosed with high-risk acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) in June 2016 at
the age of 2. His treatment plan included three and a half years of daily chemotherapy. He took 75 pills per month, in addition to intravenous and spinal chemotherapy. During this time, he experienced severe complications, including brain swelling, nerve damage, painful mouth sores and more. His family received support from LLS through our Urgent Need Program and Patient Aid Program. In October 2019, King completed chemotherapy, but continues to battle the chronic side effects from his treatment and a lifelong genetic disorder called G6PD deficiency. King and his family spend their time advocating and spreading awareness about pediatric cancer

Taking on Children’s Cancer from Every Direction (cont.) (LLS, 2019, p. 12)

The LLS Children’s Initiative will bring precision medicine to children with cancer and ensure they have access to care.

Driving New Breakthroughs Faster

LLS is more than doubling our investment in pediatric cancer research grants worldwide. Our areas of focus include:
• Harnessing the immune system to fight cancer
• Identifying biomarkers to understand which patients will respond to certain therapies
• Overcoming treatment resistance
• Improving detection of cancer cells left after treatment that can lead to relapse
• Mitigating long-term treatment effects, such as cardiotoxicity and infertility

Further, LLS has undertaken an unprecedented collaboration to launch the first global precision medicine clinical trial for pediatric acute leukemia, called LLS PedAL. Building upon our successful Beat AML® Master Clinical Trial, LLS will unite physicians, scientists, regulators, advocacy organizations, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies and others to change the paradigm of treatment through a precision medicine approach that puts pediatric patients first. Together, we will create a single set of pediatric cancer data that will be made available to researchers worldwide, identify and validate underlying molecular drivers of disease, and match patients with relapsed acute leukemia to the most promising treatments based on their unique tumor biology. The goal is to test multiple targeted therapies simultaneously at up to 200 clinical sites worldwide, with an anticipated opening in 2020.

Ensuring Access to the Best Care Possible

Because new breakthroughs are beneficial only if patients can access them, we are expanding our trusted education and support services—including resources for children and young adults with cancer and financial assistance programs—to help more patients, parents and caregivers navigate cancer treatments and access quality care. LLS is dedicated to helping children and families cope with the financial, emotional and psychological impact of a cancer diagnosis through our comprehensive array of free information, education and support.

Meanwhile, our policy and advocacy efforts focus on breaking down barriers to care and accelerating the development of new cancer treatments. LLS is co-chairing the Policy Committee of the Alliance for Childhood Cancer, a coalition of more than 25 advocacy groups and professional organizations. Through our work with the coalition, we played an instrumental role in the enactment of The Childhood Cancer Survivorship, Treatment, Access and Research (STAR) Act, the most comprehensive federal childhood cancer legislation ever introduced.


References

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. (2019). Generations of Impact. Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. www.LLS.org/AnnualReport

Myers, Robert. (August 18, 2019). 'Warspeak' puts us all in the trenches. Fayetteville Observer, The (NC). Retrieved on May 6, 2022, from https://eds-s-ebscohost-com.proxy.library.nyu.edu/eds/detail/detail?vid=2&sid=a4292b28-9677-4422-bd27-62ab7494f58b%40redis&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWRzLWxpdmU%3d#AN=153122783&db=edb

Pernice, Kara. (November 12, 2017). F-Shaped Pattern of Reading on the Web: Misunderstood, But Still Relevant (Even on Mobile). Retrieved on May 7, 2022 from, https://www.nngroup.com/articles/f-shaped-pattern-reading-web-content/

The Conversation. (July 27, 2022). Warspeak: Militarized Rhetoric About COVID-19 Makes Everything A Battle And Turns Neighbors Into Enemies. Retrieved on May 6, 2022, from http://www.milwaukeeindependent.com/syndicated/warspeak-militarized-rhetoric-about-covid-19-makes-everything-a-battle-and-turns-neighbors-into-enemies/

The Conversation. (August 6, 2019) .The ‘warspeak’ permeating everyday language puts us all in the trenches. The Conversation. https://theconversation.com/the-warspeak-permeating-everyday-language-puts-us-all-in-the-trenches-121356

Williams, J., Bizup, J. (2017) Style: Lessons in Clarity and Grace. Pearson Education, Inc.