2019 National Man & Woman of the Year Winners, Robert Hope and Nancy Hamlin.
Rye Brook, NY (July 10, 2019) – They both live in the same city, Charlotte, NC, but their commonality is much more profound – he nearly lost his life to cancer, and she’s made it her mission to make sure nobody has to endure the pain of losing a loved one to cancer. Robert Hope and Nancy Hamlin were awarded The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) prestigious titles, National Man of the Year and National Woman of the Year, raising $647,475 and $891,806, respectively, as part of LLS’s nationwide philanthropic competition, Man & Woman of the Year®. In its 30th year, the campaign has helped LLS invest nearly $1.3 billion in lifesaving research that is changing the landscape of cancer cures.
More than 1,000 passionate candidates in nearly 100 communities across the country have been taking on the 10-week philanthropic competition by storm — all to fight cancer. The 2019 campaign broke a new fundraising record total, bringing the total amount raised since inception to $380 million. The funds raised are helping LLS to drive forward a strategic agenda focused on the most pressing priorities in the blood cancers:
- The LLS Children’s Initiative – LLS is taking on children’s cancer from every direction, disrupting the status quo with our bold vision for young patients: to not only survive their cancer, but thrive in their lives after treatment.
- Prevention and Survivorship – Advances in next-generation genomic sequencing are leading to the first-ever discussions about halting blood cancers earlier and initiating the first-ever discussions about blood cancer prevention.
- Precision Medicine and Immunotherapy – LLS pioneered the precision medicine and immunotherapy revolution, and continues to lead with innovative new clinical trial models, bringing the promise of cancer cures to more patients and their families.
- Myeloma – LLS is propelling meaningful treatment advancements while raising awareness of this disease, particularly in underserved populations, including African American communities, where prevalence is twice as high as among white Americans.
- Financial Support and Cost of Care – More than 100,000 volunteer advocates join LLS’s Office of Public Policy in working to minimize the financial toxicity of cancer.
“LLS was founded 70 years ago by a family for families, at a time when a diagnosis of blood cancer was a death sentence,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS president and CEO. “While survival rates have increased for several decades, newer and better treatments are needed, and these extraordinary philanthropic leaders are raising critical funds to save lives.” He emphasizes, “Our work is fueling significant scientific and medical breakthroughs across the cancer landscape. While 10 percent of all cancers in the United States are blood cancers, approximately 40 percent of all cancer drugs approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since 2000 were first approved to treat blood cancers.”
Hope, an executive in risk management at Wells Fargo, has come a long way since he nearly lost his life in 1991 when he was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Today, he is cured thanks to a bone marrow transplant. “CML has become a much more manageable disease since I was diagnosed, thanks to LLS research grants that have funded many of today's most promising advances,” says Hope. “If we keep funding in the research, there will be more breakthroughs for generations ahead.”
Hamlin, a corporate vice president of food and beverage at Cedar Fair Entertainment Company, knows all too well how horrible diseases like cancer can impact generations. She endured the unimaginable, losing both parents and two siblings in a short period of time. But as a new Woman of the Year record holder, she has turned her grief into passion. “It’s not about winning a title, it’s about the impact we’re making and how we’re moving the needle forward for patients and their families,” says Hamlin. “I don’t want any other family to go through what mine did.”
The National Man & Woman of the Year runners-up were Eric Grossman of DLA Piper in Fairfax, VA, and Stacy Goldstein of Iberiabank in Houston, TX – they raised $517,078 and $701,000, respectively. The National “All Star” winners were Bernard Llave of Team B Strong and community volunteer, Summer Hall. Collectively, they raised, $705,399.
To learn more about Man & Woman of the Year, visit www.mwoy.org.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is the world's largest voluntary health agency dedicated to fighting 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, provides free information and support services, and is the voice for all blood cancer patients seeking access to quality, affordable, coordinated care.
Founded in 1949 and headquartered in Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.