LLS Man and Woman of the Year Cam­paign kicks off fifth year

Record Observer - - News - By VIC­TO­RIA WIN­GATE

GRASONVILLE — The Leukemia and Lym­phoma So­ci­ety of the East­ern Shore cel­e­brated the kick­off of its fifth an­nual Man and Woman of the Year cam­paign at Har­ris Crab House in Grasonville Thurs­day, March 30.

Ten teams will com­pete dur­ing the next 10 weeks to raise the most money for blood can­cer re­search and the ti­tle of Man or Woman of the Year. Each can­di­date is as­sisted by a team of friends and fam­ily, and to­gether they host fundrais­ing events of all kinds to sup­port the cause.

This year’s can­di­dates are John Bunce with Team Crushin’ Orange; Kasey Deal with Team Orange Blos­soms; Kim Leavers with Team Shore 4 A Cure; An­drew Tawes with Team An­drew for Gate­way Subaru; Cap­tain Wil­lie Dykes with Team Wil­lie for Gate­way Subaru; Laura Green­well with Team Craft­ing a Cure; Alyssa Miller with Team Cure­saders; Ryan Snow with Team It’s a Cure Thing; Melissa Coli­gan with Team Missy’s Mojo; and Curt Kersey with Team Lym­pho­ma­ni­acs.

Can­di­dates have pages on the LLS East­ern Shore web­site, www.mwoy.org/ md/lo­calchap­ter/mwoyes, and the com­mu­nity can make do­na­tions and re­ceive up­dates for up­com­ing events.

The 2016 cam­paign was a record-break­ing year for the LLS of the East­ern Shore, rais­ing $476,859 — a record for any Mary­land chap­ter and nearly dou­ble what was raised on the East­ern Shore in the 2015 cam­paign — for the LLS mis­sion to find a cure for blood can­cers. Seven­ty­seven per­cent of each dol­lar raised goes into fund­ing re­search, which works out to a con­tri­bu­tion of just over $367,000 for re­search alone.

Emily Mur­ray of Team Crushin’ Orange was named 2016 Woman of the Year with $135,882 raised. Rich Catan of Team Missy’s Mojo was named 2016 Man of the Year with $74,109.77 raised.

The 2017 cam­paign will cul­mi­nate with the Grand Fi­nale Gala to be held at the Hy­att Re­gency Ch­e­sa­peake Bay Re­sort in Cam­bridge on Satur­day, June 10.

“We can­not save lives with­out you,” said Mary­land LLS Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor Jonathan Wil­son. “Those that have been in­volved with the cam­paign for the last five years, know that we have been very ag­gres­sive at LLS about find­ing a cure. We’re on the cusp of some re­ally break­through treat­ments and re­search that is go­ing to save lives to­day.”

Each year, a Boy and Girl of the Year are in­vited to rep­re­sent the cause through­out the cam­paign.

This year’s Girl of the Year is Mia Frank, a 3-year old girl fight­ing acute lym­phoblas­tic leukemia. She was di­ag­nosed late last year and will en­ter what is called the main­te­nance phase af­ter one more can­cer treat­ment.

Mia’s fa­ther Gary Frank shared the story of Mia’s jour­ney, from di­ag­no­sis to where she is to­day, nearly done with treat­ments.

“I didn’t re­ally know much about can­cer,” said Gary Frank. “I just want to thank ev­ery­one out here for what they do. I know ev­ery­one has their story or is af­fected some­how. I re­ally didn’t know much about this un­til the last six months. I’ve learned a lot about can­cer. I know you guys don’t have to do it, but you’re do­ing it for a good cause, your own per­sonal rea­sons and chil­dren like Mia.”

The Boy of the Year Wy­att Rus­sum was un­able to at­tend the event due to a cold, but his fa­ther JR Rus­sum was there to share his story, as well.

Wy­att is 6 years old now and was di­ag­nosed with ALL at four years old in 2015. He is in the main­te­nance phase of his treat­ment, but as his fa­ther said, some­thing as sim­ple as a cold for some­one with leukemia means a hos­pi­tal stay.

“I’m very truly thank­ful, not just for me and my fam­ily,” said Mr. Rus­sum. “I thank you all from the bot­tom of my heart. What you’re do­ing is go­ing to make a dif­fer­ence. If it stops one kid from hav­ing to go through this, it’s worth it.”

Fol­low me on Twit­ter @ vic­to­ri­adorstar and on In­sta­gram @dorch­ester.star.

PHO­TOS BY DUSTIN HOLT

The 2017 Leukemia and Lym­phoma So­ci­ety of the East­ern Shore Man and Woman of the Year can­di­dates are John Bunce with Team Crushin’ Orange; Kasey Deal with Team Orange Blos­soms; Melissa Coli­gan with Team Missy’s Mojo; Alyssa Miller with Team Cure­saders; Ryan Snow with Team It’s a Cure Thing; Laura Green­well with Team Craft­ing a Cure; An­drew Tawes with Team An­drew for Gate­way Subaru; Kim Leavers with Team Shore 4 A Cure; Cap­tain Wil­lie Dykes with Team Wil­lie for Gate­way Subaru; and Curt Kersey with Team Lym­pho­ma­ni­acs. Kersey was un­able to at­tend the kick­off Thurs­day, March 30.

Leukemia and Lym­phoma So­ci­ety Woman of the Year can­di­date Alyssa Miller with Team Cure­saders meets 2017 Girl of the Year Mia Frank, a three-year old girl fight­ing acute lym­phoblas­tic leukemia.

The Leukemia and Lym­phoma So­ci­ety of the East­ern Shore Woman of the Year can­di­date Melissa Coli­gan with Team Missy’s Mojo at Har­ris Crab House in Grasonville Thurs­day, March 30.

Gary Frank holds his daugh­ter Mia, the 2017 Leukemia and Lym­phoma So­ci­ety of the East­ern Shore Girl of the Year, at the Man and Woman of the Year cam­paign kick­off Thurs­day, March 30.

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