First of all thank you for being a friend.....
BUT REALLY THOUGH.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for considering to support The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) by making a donation to our AMAZING team's fundraising campaign for the 2017 Woman of the Year. For those of you that aren't familiar with this organization or this Man & Woman of the Year (MWOY) Campaign, here are the fast facts:
1. What is LLS? LLS exists to find cures and ensure access to treatments for blood cancer patients. It's the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to finding cures for leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma, and all other blood cancers.
2. What is MWOY? Each year 25 to 30 candidates in communities across the country compete to earn LLS's "Man & Woman of the Year" titles by raising funds for blood cancer research in a 10-week period. It's all in honor of a Boy & Girl of the year, and this year we are doing this for Susanna Hardee (age 11, Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia survivor) and Devan Tatlow (age 11, Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia survivor). 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.
(Pictured above - Susanna, fighting the good fight with a smile; She is now a happy, healthy and thriving 11 year old who loves animals, riding horses and is in the 6th grade at Alice Deal Middle School)
(Devan fought APL twice - this photo was taken after he relapsed - he is now 11 years old and just had another clean biopsy!)
3. When is it? March 23rd is kick-off, and it all culminates on June 3 at the Grand Finale Awards Gala at the Marriott Marquis in Downtown D.C.
4. Why? We all have ties to cancer. When my dear friend Julie Zimmet Smith nominated me, I was terrified of what this commitment would mean. It would be stressful, time-consuming, and to be quite honest, uncomfortable! But when I learned more about the impact this organization is making, I had to do something. For instance more than 1.2 million Americans currently have a blood cancer. It's the number 3 cancer killer, and Leukemia is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in children and young adults under the age of 20. In addition, our efforts will have a meaningful impact on finding treatments for ALL cancers: almost half of the therapies used for other cancers were first approved by the FDA for blood cancer treatment.
We all have loved ones that have fought, are fighting, or unfortunately may end up having to fight the cancer battle in the future. For me, my cousins Melissa Zurowski-Gray and Jonathan Wait were both diagnosed with cancer last year - Jonathan (testicular cancer) is in remission, and Melissa is currently being treated for thyroid cancer. One of my best friends and my campaign manager, Caitlin Jones also was treated for thyroid cancer last year as well.
And finally, one little boy from my home state in Mississippi that I never even had the pleasure of knowing influenced me to not only take on this challenge, but he also inspired me to commit to raising $100,000 in his honor.
Ryan LaSource, was only a few months old when he was first diagnosed with Acute Myeloma Leukemia, and his parents, Austin and Lauren LaSource started a Facebook support page that drew the attention of the entire state of Mississippi. I started following his page early last year, and his mother's beautiful, raw posts about his life truly had an impact on me. Along with almost 50,000 other followers, I prayed with them, laughed with them when she posted silly videos of him being a typical toddler, and cried my eyes out with them when he made his way to heaven on June 3, 2016. Now bare with me on how I actually got to connect with Lauren and Austin - it's a small world indeed! My sister's good friend's sister is Lauren's good friend. Through all of those connections, I finally got to talk with Lauren and they are willing to let us run this campaign in his honor!
Now, why are we choosing to raise $100,000 you ask? Because June 3, 2017 is the first anniversary of Ryan's trip to heaven. And on June 3, at the Grand Finale, if we reach our goal of $100,000, we will be able to name not one but TWO blood cancer research portfolios in Ryan's honor. That means YOUR donation will fund research to find a cure for cancer. It's not paying for marketing, or for t-shirts, or for fundraising events....your money is paying for the cure that will literally save lives.
I believe that God had a divine purpose for Ryan's life, and per his cute little sweatshirt in this photo, we all get to be a part of His plan to "do great things for this world." (Photo credit goes to Ryan's Journey - Leukemia Support Page)
All donations are greatly appreciated and tax deductible. They'll not only support LLS research, but patient services, advocacy, public and professional education, and community services as well. If you are interested in other ways of helping, from donating auction or incentive items, corporate sponsorships, ads and tickets for the Awards Gala in partnership with The Washingtonian Magazine, please don't hesitate to contact me at email@example.com.
Please visit my Web site often and share it with 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
"I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings." 1 Corinthians 9:23