(Rye Brook, NY, August 13, 2020) – Like many nonprofit organizations, The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), a global leader in the fight against cancer, is not immune to the damaging impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. But thousands of participants in nearly 100 communities across the country remain laser-focused on their pursuit of a world without blood cancer, taking on LLS’s 10-week philanthropic competition, Man & Woman of the Year®, by storm — even if it means pivoting to the world of virtual fundraising.
LLS announced today, Rich Pentz and Tina Swallow were awarded the prestigious titles, National Man of the Year and National Woman of the Year, and broke new local campaign records, raising $518,906 and $467,686 respectively. The campaign has helped LLS invest nearly $1.3 billion, ensuring that the organization continues to deliver its cancer curing mission and impact for patients, who need support now, more than ever.
The funds raised through Man & Woman of the Year are used for:
- Research to advance lifesaving therapies like immunotherapy, genomics and personalized medicine, which are saving lives today.
- Free blood cancer information, education and support for patients and families.
- National and local advocacy efforts driving policies that accelerate new treatments and ensure patients have access to care so that they can live longer, healthier lives.
“Cancer will not wait for COVID-19 to go away. And cancer patients can’t wait either,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS president and CEO. “With the grit and determination of LLS supporters and volunteers like our Man & Woman of the Year candidates, LLS maintains a very significant, impactful mission agenda. We will continue to forge ahead relentlessly to find cures and help blood cancer patients access the care they need.”
Pentz, a senior director of institutional sales and relationship management at Principal Global Investors in Indianapolis, IN, accepted his nomination in memory of his mother, Patricia, who lost her battle to acute myeloid leukemia six years ago. His campaign began on the anniversary of his mother's funeral and culminated in a record-setting fundraising effort for Indianapolis on the anniversary of her birthday. "My story is a familiar one for too many people. I joined the fight against blood cancer so no family has to hear the words 'You have cancer' again."
Swallow, a 21-year Navy veteran and services director at Cisco in Washington, D.C., led “Team Bridge to a Cure” and ran her campaign in honor of her oldest son, Beau, who survived stage 4 cancer. “I’ve made it my mission to never stop fighting for cancer cures,” said Swallow. “Just like LLS, my mission has not changed, what has changed is the urgency for patients.”
The National Man & Woman of the Year runners-up were Jesse Giordano of “Team Unity” of Opal Wealth Advisors in Long Island, NY, and Lauren Palmer of “Team Gold” in Charlotte, NC — they raised $437,510 and $352,792, respectively. The National “All Star” winners were Brian Fuller of “Team Lexie’s Legacy” in Atlanta, GA, and Allison Jockel of “Team AML All Stars” in Charlotte, NC. Collectively, they raised more than $542,192. Fuller broke a new national All Star fundraising record and ran his campaign in memory of Lexie Clayton, a former LLS staff member who passed away from cancer at 36 years old.
To learn more about Man & Woman of the Year, visit www.mwoy.org.
About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society® (LLS) is a global leader in the fight against cancer. The LLS mission: cure leukemia, lymphoma, multiple 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 www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., ET.
The LLS Children’s Initiative: Cures and Care for Children with Cancer
The LLS Children’s Initiative is a $100 million multi-year effort to take on children’s cancer through every facet of LLS’s mission: research, patient education and support and policy and advocacy. The LLS Children’s Initiative includes: more pediatric research grants, a global precision medicine clinical trial, expanded free education and support services for children and families and driving policies and laws that break down barriers to care. To learn more, visit www.lls.org/childrens-initiative.