April 15, 2011 -- A South County woman and Chesterfield man raised more than $58,437 for blood cancer research and patient services, making them the winner of this year's Man & Woman of the Year of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Gateway Chapter.
The two winners, Mike Hubbell of Chesterfield, and Gail Chellis of South County, were the top local fundraisers and will now be entered into the national competition for Man & Woman of the Year.
During an eight-week fundraising period beginning with a kickoff celebration, the candidates were judged solely on their success in generating funds to advance the mission of LLS. Every dollar raised counts as one "vote." Mike Hubbell and Gail Chellis were the candidates with the most "votes," and were awarded the title of 2011 Man & Woman of the Year at a grand finale celebration on April 14. The candidates competed in honor of the Society's Boy & Girl of the year' local children who are blood cancer survivors and sources of inspiration to others.
Brendan is a 5-year-old boy with an unbelievable zest for life. When he was just 11-weeks-old, he was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). After enduring five rounds of very intense chemotherapy, Brendan is now coming up on his 5th year of being cancer free.
Sammy, whose favorite song is "Big Girls Don?t Cry", will turn 6-years old on February 7. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) two days after Christmas 2007, and for the next two and a half years went through many rounds of chemo and many spinal taps. Sammy was given the all clear last October.
The money raised by candidates is used by LLS to fund research seeking cures and better therapies, and to provide information and support so that patients have the best possible outcomes throughout their cancer experience.
Altogether, Man & Woman of the Year candidates raised almost $122,000 for blood cancer research. "This is just one of our campaigns that allow the Gateway Chapter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society to invest more than $19.1 million to blood cancer research in Missouri and Illinois," says Debbie Kersting, the Gateway Chapter's Executive Director. "We are forever grateful to Mike, Gail, and the other candidates because we could not do this without their support and hard work. After all, blood cancer is the leading cause of deaths from cancer in children under the age of 20, and there is no stopping until we find a cure."
Thanks to Man & Woman of the Year and the Gateway Chapter's other programs, LLS has been able to contribute $185,000 in financial aid to patients; provide co-pay assistance of $440,000; serve over 4,750 patients with financial support, education, and support groups; and provide school curriculum/orientation for children transitioning back to the classroom in over 530 schools.
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 headquarted 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/gat