Man & Woman Of The Year

Because of my participation with the Executive Committee for the LLS Light the Night event, I was invited to attend the Midpoint Dinner for the LLS 2016 Man & Woman of the Year campaign.  What an amazing vibe and incredible group of people, it was such a treat to be included!

The MWOY campaign is a bit different from LTN.  Different teams compete to raise as much money as possible in a 10 week period; this year’s goal for all of the teams in the New Mexico/El Paso chapter is $500,000.  The dinner tonight marked the midpoint, so there are exactly five weeks left for these amazing teams to kick it into high gear.  Because I have only been involved with Light the Night, I was excited to be able to see what MWOY is all about.

My dear friend Kim has been involved in this event since I’ve known her.  We met two years ago in the support group that I attend.  She is the founder and facilitator of the group and also a survivor herself.  She was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma her senior year of high school in 2007.  As a teenager trying to wade through the complex emotions of a cancer diagnosis, she realized there was a true need for a young adult support group.  I am so grateful for the sweet friendship we’ve cultivated over the past two years.

This year, she took part in nominating a colleague of hers from work who is also a Lymphoma survivor, Andrew Jaynes.  This is his fundraising page, please take a moment to read his story and consider a donation.  Like the website says, each dollar counts as a vote for Andrew for Man of the Year, so every dollar really does count and no amount is too small.

It was such a pleasure to attend the midpoint dinner tonight.  My favorite part of the evening was listening to my fellow survivors describe something unexpected that happened to them during or after their treatment.  It was emotional and poignant.  I particularly love the picture below, showing honored hero, Nieves, explaining his beads of courage to us.  A young boy commanding a room of adults simply by telling a part of his story; he is so well spoken too.

mwoynm2twitter photo cred: @ewhitmore

13198527_10206575320685486_8355801084503727017_ophoto cred: IGer @kimberleycraft

I was reminded tonight of why fundraising is so important.  Throughout the two hours that we spent together enjoying good food, drinks, and company, approximately 40 people will be newly diagnosed with a blood cancer.  During that same amount of time, approximately nine people will pass away from a blood cancer.

Thirty years ago, a blood cancer diagnosis was a certain death sentence.  That is not an exaggeration and I am not being melodramatic.  In that amount of time, the research and fundraising that has been done has led us to the tipping point we are at today.  We are so close to curing blood cancers once and for all.  I am truly humbled when I step into a room like the one I did tonight and witness the hard work that so many are putting into this cause.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you all so much.

Someday Is Today.

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