WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 11, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) 2013 Man & Woman of the Year campaign exceeded last year's record, raising $22.7 million for blood cancer research and patient services. In its 23rd year more than 850 candidates participated and collectively surpassed last year's fundraising record by $3.5 million.
Out of all those candidates, 16-year-old San Antonio leukemia survivor Daniel Edelen, and Illinois resident Barbara Bernick, a graduate of DePaul University School of Public Service, earned the titles of national Man of the Year and Woman of the Year.
Edelen is the youngest national title winner in the campaign's 23-year-history, raising an astounding $466,000, the most ever raised by any Man & Woman of the Year candidate to date. He is a 6-year-survivor of high risk T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Edelen, who is a sophomore at Winston Churchill High School, was diagnosed at the age of seven and endured three years and four months of chemotherapy. Daniel's treatment included three surgeries, 21 spinal taps, 22 blood and platelet transfusions, 88 days in the hospital, over 55 IV treatments through his port, daily chemo pills, and cranial radiation. Daniel is now considered officially cured. He is a member of the junior varsity football team at his school, and is active in Young Life, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, wakeboarding club, Chargers for Christ, fishing club, and the National Junior Honor Society.
"It is exciting to not only be the youngest, but to be the highest fundraiser in the history of the program," said Edelen. "I enjoyed sharing my story and seeking support from friends and family, and I have to thank my parents, Chris and Joan, for their incredible support of my campaign." Edelen's father, Chris Edelen, has been a member of LLS's South Central Texas chapter Board of Trustees since 2007.
Bernick, who received her master's degree in non-profit management from DePaul University School of Public Service this December, successfully raised $232,050 in memory of her mother who died from leukemia 20 years ago. Bernick was first introduced to LLS by Sarah Wilde, a friend who was a participant of LLS's Light The Night® Walk. Bernick received significant donations and support from family foundations. In addition, she hosted a very successful cocktail party at a local restaurant, Maestro's, with family and friends. At this event she held a silent auction, showed the Man & Woman of the Year Illinois recruitment video, shared her story, and honored the Boy & Girl of the Year families.
"My cocktail party truly catapulted my campaign by educating my supporters on the scope of the program and why it is so important to me, and I have every one of them to thank for my success," Bernick said.
Every year candidates around the country compete in a spirited 10-week campaign for the title of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Man & Woman of the Year. Candidates are judged solely on their success in raising money to help LLS find cures and ensure access to treatments for all blood cancer patients. Every dollar raised counts as one "vote." Each LLS chapter names local winners, and the highest fundraisers nationally are named national Man & Woman of the Year.
"LLS is greatly moved by the generosity and hard work of the candidates and campaign teams during the 2013 Man & Woman of the Year campaign," said Blair Fogle, senior national director of special events for LLS. "Over 850 candidates, and their campaign teams, proved that with passion and determination, truly amazing things are possible for LLS's mission. They are true community leaders. Thank you does not even begin to express our gratitude for their efforts."
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancers. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.
Contact: Andrea Greif
SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society