What is man of the year?
As a candidate for Man of the Year, I am on a quest to raise as much money as I can for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in just 10 weeks (March 25-June 4). I will be competing against a select group of philanthropic-minded business and community leaders to become the top fundraiser, and therefore be named LLS’s Man of the Year. But more important than any title is the knowledge that I, along with my support team, will be playing an important role in the fight against blood cancers.
Where the money goes
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to funding blood cancer research and providing education and patient services. Since it was founded in 1949, LLS has invested more than $680 million in research, $69 million in fiscal year 2009 alone. Research funded by LLS has led or contributed to such advances as chemotherapy, bone marrow transplantation and new targeted oral therapies such as Gleevec®. The need is critical: More than 912,000 Americans are living with leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and myelodysplastic syndromes. Every four minutes, someone new is diagnosed with blood cancer. Every 10 minutes, someone dies. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children under the age of 20. Lymphomas are the most common blood cancers and incidence increases with age. The survival rate for myeloma is only 37 percent. Incidence is nearly twice as high among African-Americans as for all other races.
My goal is to have the best support team that has ever been experienced in the history of the Man & Woman of the Year campaign. The most that any local candidate has ever raised is $57,000. I think we can raise well beyond that, so I have set my sights on beating last year’s top fundraiser in the nation, who came out of Wichita, Kansas and raised over $186,000. With the help and support of this team I would like to bring the national title to Minnesota in 2010!
I am personally motivated to support this cause for several reasons. As a young man I encountered this disease with my best friend. He was 14 at the time he passed away, too young by anyone’s standards. But with the support of people like us, he was able to fight the disease a lot longer than expected. At the time I was confused and had no idea how this disease would affect my life. Over the past two years I have had two family members and a host of friends lose their battles with blood cancers. Now I have a new perspective, and can appreciate what those diagnosed with a blood cancer, like our honorees Paige and Will, are encountering today to survive.
Will Pogue, Age 5
My name is Will, and I was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) in May of 2008. I had intense chemo treatment because I have a chromosome that helps the leukemia. I am in remission, and started my maintenance therapy this past summer. I love anything with wheels: cars, trucks, ATVs, motorcycles, trains and planes. I really like baseball and hockey and going to games. My favorite vacation spot is Arizona, and I want to fly airplanes when I grow up. I live in Delano with my parents Jamie and Wes, and my sister Athena. I have four dogs named Summit, Rossi, Bailey and Jake, and one cat named Marley. LLS has helped to pay for a lot of the medicines I have to take everyday that insurance doesn’t cover fully for us. “There are lots of kids like me, and they need and deserve help,” says Will. “This is a really bad disease and I want to stop it from happening to other kids.”
Paige Pedersen, Age 7
My name is Paige, and I was diagnosed with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) in November of 2008. Treatment was very hard at first with lots of tough procedures. It’s easier now that I’m in maintenance. I like basketball, hockey, swimming, soccer and reading. I love Mexican food! I want to be a nurse or work with my daddy at Edward Jones when I grow up. My favorite books are Dr. Seuss and Froggy books, and my best vacation was to Mexico. I love school, and this year I’m in the first grade at Hillside Elementary. I live in Cottage Grove with my parents Anne and Craig, and my siblings Abby and Sydney. I have a dog named Zara and a hamster named Whiskers. LLS has helped my family by giving us good educational material so we can make informed decisions.