Mak­ing the mark in Maryland

Eastern Shore LLS raises record amount for blood can­cer re­search

Dorchester Star - - Front Page - By VIC­TO­RIA WINGATE vwingate@ches­pub.com

CAM­BRIDGE — The Leukemia and Lym­phoma So­ci­ety of the Eastern Shore cel­e­brated a record-break­ing year Satur­day, June 11, at the fourth an­nual Man and Woman of the Year gala, hosted at the Hy­att Re­gency Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Re­sort.

This year’s 10-week fundrais­ing cam­paign raised an un­prece­dented $476,859 to­tal — a record for any Maryland chap­ter, and nearly dou­ble what was raised on the Eastern Shore in last year’s cam­paign — for the LLS mis­sion to find a cure for blood can­cers. Seventy-seven per­cent of each dol­lar raised goes straight into fund­ing re­search, which works out to a con­tri­bu­tion of just over $367,000 for re­search alone.

Anne Arun­del County teacher Emily Mur­ray, of Church Hill, was named 2016 Woman of the Year as she and her team raised $135,882. She is a sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion team win­ner af­ter Tom Bunce was 2015 Man of the Year.

“My grand­mother was here with us last year at the gala, and she lost her fight in Au­gust, so that was a big mo­ti­va­tion,” she said when asked why she wanted to be in­volved.

Rich Caton of Hal­ton Group Amer­ica in Ch­ester was named 2016 Man of the Year hav­ing raised $74,109.77 along with his team.

As to why he de­cided to run, “To honor my sis­ter-in-law and my fa­ther-in-law,” he said. “I did this in mem­ory of them.”

“For all the par­ents, hus­bands and wives, sib­lings, all the fam­i­lies who are go­ing through those things, that was enough for me,” he said. “I just wanted to be a part of that and give back. I’m so hum­bled to be here help­ing out.”

First run­ners up for the cam­paign were Re­becca Kel­lum with $82,765 raised and Wil­liam Nielsen with $63,292 raised. Each can­di­date who raised more $50,000 with their team will be able to choose a re­search port­fo­lio to de­cide how that money will be uti­lized in the fight against blood can­cer.

Join­ing the cam­paign as can­di­dates were Katie Thoma­son of Par­lour 7 Sa­lon in Den­ton; Amy De­marr of Chop­tank Trans­port in Pre­ston and Mary Kay in Eas­ton;

Eas­ton firefighter Sveinn Storm of Bartlett Pear Bak­ery in Eas­ton; Justin Davis of Gra­sonville and B/R In­stru­ment Cor­po­ra­tion in Eas­ton; Re­becca Kel­lum of Kent Is­land Pe­di­atric Den­tistry; and Cor­rine Banks of Ocean City and Bal­anced 4 Life Fit­ness/ID LIFE.

Colby Fowle and Tyler Von Hagel were hon­ored as Girl and Boy of the Year, re­spec­tively.

Kent Is­land Amer­i­can Le­gion Post 278 was the 2016 Pre­sent­ing Spon­sor of the event. The or­ga­ni­za­tion made a $20,000 do­na­tion to the cam­paign in May, and an ad­di­tional $5,000 do­na­tion on the night of the gala dur­ing Fund the Fight, a do­na­tion light­ning round of sorts.

“I con­grat­u­late all the nom­i­nees on a job well done,” said Post 278 Com­man­der Nikki Ran­dolph. “Your ded­i­ca­tion to the LLS is sim­ply out­stand­ing, and know that your hard work dur­ing this com­pe­ti­tion is sav­ing lives whether you are crowned the win­ner or not, your ded­i­ca­tion and per­for­mance was awe­some.

“We are all touched by can­cer in one form or an­other,” she said. “Can­cer doesn’t know if you’re a vet­eran or a civil­ian, if you’re white or black, your gen­der, re­li­gion, race or creed, if you’re an an­i­mal, can­cer can strike any­one, any­where, at any­time, and that is why the Amer­i­can Le­gion find the LLS and what they do to be ver y im­por­tant. Kent Is­land Amer­i­can Le­gion is hon­ored to be able to sup­port this year’s Man and Woman of the Year event.”

Maryland LLS Ex­ec­u­tive Direc­tor Jonathan Wil­son said he is very proud of the Eastern Shore for an out­stand­ing 2016 cam­paign.

“This re­ally comes back to aware­ness,” Wil­son said. “The great thing about the year-to-year growth that we are see­ing on the Eastern Shore shows that the word is get­ting out there and more peo­ple want to get in­volved. This cam­paign is about find­ing a cure, and we ap­pre­ci­ate all the sup­port from the com­mu­nity and the can­di­dates in mak­ing this a record-break­ing night.

“Get­ting in­volved on the Eastern Shore, and get­ting more and more peo­ple aware of the Leukemia and Lym­phoma So­ci­ety and what we are do­ing, is the beauty of this cam­paign,” he said. “That is the en­ergy that we felt in the room tonight.”

Wil­son praised the LLS of the Eastern Shore lead­er­ship, Jen­nifer Veil, Katie Wil­son and Todd Ma­son, for start­ing the Eastern Shore pro­gram and grow­ing the cam­paign.

“At the be­gin­ning, it was just them,” he said. “This Eastern Shore cam­paign was the brain­child of a few peo­ple. Now, it is a col­lec­tive in­volve­ment of hun­dreds of peo­ple.

“It keeps grow­ing and grow­ing and grow­ing,” he said. “That just shows you the im­pact that this cam­paign along is hav­ing on the Eastern Shore. The LLS lead­er­ship on the Eastern Shore de­serves so much credit for this ac­com­plish­ment.”

In a unan­i­mous de­ci­sion by chap­ter lead­er­ship, can­di­date Katie Thoma­son was hon­ored with the An­gela M. Bul­lock Cit­i­zen­ship Award, given to the can­di­date who most ex­em­pli­fies the mis­sion of the LLS in his or her cam­paign.

Kent Is­land Pe­di­atric Den­tistry also re­ceived spe­cial recog­ni­tion for their un­wa­ver­ing sup­port of the LLS Eastern Shore chap­ter in the four years since its in­cep­tion.

Jeff Czo­rap­in­ski spoke about his fam­ily’s per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ence with can­cer in his son. In April of 2006, he said his wife took then 10-month-old Joshua to the doc­tor be­cause he just didn’t look quite right. Af­ter be­ing sent to Johns Hop­kins Hospi­tal by their pe­di­a­tri­cian and many tests, it was de­ter­mined that Joshua had leukemia.

In ad­di­tion to hav­ing the baby boy be­gin­ning chemo­ther­apy treat­ments, Jeff and his wife wor­ried for the fate of Joshua’s twin brother Adam. He was tested and found to have the same leukemia cells, but mirac­u­lously, the dis­ease never de­vel­oped in him.

“Can­cer is a hor­ri­ble thing, but along the way you meet in­cred­i­ble peo­ple, like the kind of peo­ple you see here tonight,” he said. “You meet in­cred­i­ble doc­tors, like the ones that helped us. It’s just amaz­ing what peo­ple do and what they put out there.”

Joshua went through three years of treat­ment in to­tal, one year for his ini­tial di­ag­no­sis and an­other two years af­ter he ex­pe­ri­enced an iso­lated re­lapse. Today, he is a healthy, happy 10-year-old boy.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

The 2016 Leukemia and Lym­phoma So­ci­ety of the Eastern Shore Man and Woman of the Year cam­paign raised a state record $476,859 for blood can­cer re­search.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

Rich Caton of Ch­ester and Emily Mur­ray of Church Hill re­ceive the honor of Man and Woman of the Year Satur­day, June 11, at the 2016 Leukemia and Lym­phoma So­ci­ety of the Eastern Shore Gala in Cam­bridge.

PHOTO BY DUSTIN HOLT

An­gela M. Bul­lock Cit­i­zen­ship Award re­cip­i­ent Katie Thoma­son, of Den­ton, left, is joined on stage at Satur­day’s Leukemia and Lym­phoma So­ci­ety of the Eastern Shore Gala by her daugh­ter Kennedy Thoma­son, who shaved her head to sup­port her mother in the LLS Woman of the Year cam­paign.

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