WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., July 9, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) 2012 Man & Woman of the Year campaign exceeded last year's record-breaking year, raising $18.9 million for blood cancer research and patient services. In its 22nd year more than 800 candidates participated and surpassed last year's fundraising record by $4.2 million.
Out of all those candidates, one man, Washington D.C. leukemia survivor Tommy Cleaver, and one woman, St. Louis based jewelry company owner Mary Pillsbury Wainwright emerged as the highest fundraisers, earning them the titles of national Man of the Year and Woman of the Year.
Cleaver, who is a 10-year survivor of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), raised an astounding $271,933, the most ever raised by a candidate from LLS's National Capital Area Chapter. Cleaver, who is a vice president at CBRE, the world's largest commercial real estate services firm, was diagnosed while a sophomore at Middlebury College, and kept his diagnosis a secret from most of his friends. He is a survivor today thanks to being among the first recipients of Gleevec, a groundbreaking therapy developed with help from LLS funding. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of his survival, he decided to do something big by taking on this campaign, and for the first time, sharing his story with everyone he knew. His team of more than 20 individuals, including his girlfriend, Leigh Polfer, secured corporate donations and conducted an extensive video campaign. CBRE supported the campaign as well, through media and as a presenting sponsor.
Pillsbury Wainwright, owner of Mary Pillsbury Fine Jewelry Company, single-handedly raised a record breaking total of $259,333, the largest amount raised by a candidate representing the St. Louis Gateway Chapter. Her determination to support LLS' mission has been inspired by the loss of her husband, Ed Heitz, to acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) at the age of 38. Twenty-four years ago, she began hosting LLS' Diamond Ball, an annual black tie event, and in 1987 she founded the Ed Heitz Memorial Research Fund for LLS, to focus specifically on AML research. This past year she directed her energy to the Woman of the Year competition, and her campaign's success is credited to a combination of personal perseverance, letter writing and networking with the many foundations and corporations she is connected with.
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 fund research to find cures and better therapies for cancer, and provide information and support to blood cancer patients and their families. 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.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. 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 or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET. www.lls.org.
SOURCE The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society