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