Please join me in supporting The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) by making a donation to my fundraising campaign for Man of the Year. I am part of team working to raise as much as possible in a 10-week period. Every dollar I raise counts as one vote and the candidate who gets the most votes/raises the most money is named the Man or Woman of the Year. Below is a letter to my Mom describing why this means so much to me:
I love you and miss you. Since Daddy died almost two years ago there is a void in life that I intend to fill by both emulating and respecting what a great guy he was. I felt I could honor him by doing something for charity and the next thing you know I am a fundraiser for LLS (Leukemia & Lymphoma Society).
It is a perfect fit. I want to be a fighter, just like you, and fight blood cancer. Plus, Daddy would only want to honor you, given a choice. I know you were able to defeat cancer twice, and Daddy and I both survived prostate cancer. I remember when you raised funds to help children which is the best part of this campaign. It honors the LLS Boy & Girl of the Year. I met these proven fighters and they are inspirational! Susanna is a beautiful, also timid, young girl and Devan is just a ball of fire. I could not imagine this world without them.
As Jimmy Valvano (from Seaford) said, “If you laugh, you think and you cry that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day! You do that seven days a week, you are going to have something special.” After meeting those kids, and seeing an LLS film related to the research they fund, I know this is truly something special, so I want to give it my all, like you taught us. I laugh and I cry when I think of the last time I saw you. It was not pretty given you had just survived chemo for lymphoma and an orderly was helping you to dress, but I have to laugh because you were smacking Eileen to slip the guy $5. Just for that I will try to smack everyone up for $5, or more.
Just in case you are not familiar with LLS, as an organization it dates back to 1949. Originally it was formed, with the strong support of a family that lost a teenager to leukemia, to help other families. Today LLS does the same thing, but it is so much more. They are able to align the “ecosystem” of players such as researchers, pharmaceutical companies, FDA and physicians to ensure that patients benefit from promising therapies as quickly as possible. LLS has invested more than $1 billion in research and the survival rates for many blood cancer patients have doubled, tripled and even quadrupled since 1960.
I went through the LLS financial statements and I liked what I saw in terms of support, or overhead, as a percentage of expenses (26%). I know it is higher a rate in the more affluent of the 50 LLS chapters nationwide, like DC, where more than 90% of the funds I will help raise will go to LLS programs. In 2016 LLS dispensed funds for research ($55M), patient and community services ($89K), and education ($58M). You will also be pleased to know that families like the Biden’s and Bush’s are involved with LLS, as well as sports people involved with baseball (the Jimmy Fund) and basketball (Craig Sager).
I am pretty excited about this especially since I have received such a strong response from family friends and my buddies, but it is more about people I don’t know who are willing to help. I am really looking forward meeting them and it seems they are everywhere, just like you showed me. I need to get busy since this is starting right after my birthday and ends around Dad’s. I will keep you updated on how it goes, wish me luck."
PS_The name of this campaign is “Man and Women of the Year” – certainly not my idea, but that would be dam funny if I won. I am sure you’d get a kick out of that one.
Please visit my Web site often and tell friends who would also like to donate!
On behalf of blood cancer patients everywhere, thank you for your support! For more information about LLS, please visit www.lls.org