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Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

Man & Woman of the Year Campaign

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The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man and Woman of the Year (MWOY) campaign is a national 10-week campaign to raise funds to help find cures for blood cancers. The campaign includes individuals in the community who agree to utilize their leadership abilities and resources to conduct their own fundraising campaigns to help the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) fund blood cancer research and provide education and support services for patients and their families.

Local individuals will come together to participate
in Omaha's first annual Man and Woman of the Year competition. This inaugural year has intrigued many in business, as well as, the medical world. “We are so excited to be able to offer Omaha, the surrounding metro area, in fact all of Nebraska, with a new and fun approach to raising funds for our critically needed research and patient services,” commented Pattie Gorham, Executive Director of the Nebraska Chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).

Candidates are individuals who are passionate about finding cures for leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. From corporate presidents to ultra-marathoners, the diverse candidates and nominees always have two qualities in common: humanity and zeal. All candidates display the requisite traits of enthusiasm, competitive spirit, and are philanthropic minded. Only those who have been nominated, passed the thorough examination process, and accepted the nomination reach the competition phase of this campaign. “This is a very spirited event that combines individuals building their own fundraising campaigns and forming teams where people work together to meet their goals and to engage more people along the way,” said Stephen Peters, MWOY Leadership/Nomination Committee Chair and President of LLS’s Board of Trustees.

The MWOY campaign begins with a local kickoff event in the spring. This year the kickoff is March 8th, sponsored and held at Flemings. At the kickoff, candidates learn more about LLS’s mission, their fellow candidates, and meet the local Boy and Girl of the Year. The kickoff also provides an opportunity for survivors to share their stories and allows LLS to thank community sponsors.

A host of activities prepare the candidates to run a very successful campaign even prior to the kickoff. Candidates develop their campaign team, create letters and emails to be sent out, and utilize social media mediums to jumpstart their campaign. Each candidate also receives a webpage associated with the MWOY website. At midnight on March 8th, 2011, candidates will begin to execute their fundraising plans by mailing out their letters, sending their e-mails, and holding their first fundraising event.

The male and female candidates who raise the most funds during the campaign will be awarded the title of the local chapter’s Man and Woman of the Year, respectively. “Candidates are judged solely on their success in raising money, each dollar counting as one vote,” said Rhonda Smallwood, Campaign Manger for the local MWOY campaign. Their totals are then considered for the national title.

Candidates run in honor of the Boy and Girl of the Year, who are local blood cancer patient survivors and sources of inspiration to others. The amounts raised are kept secret and are not disclosed until the two winners are announced at a Grand Finale celebration.

The program culminates with candidates and their guests joining sponsors and other prominent community members at a Grand Finale celebration for the announcement of the Man and the Woman of the Year. The outstanding achievements of all candidates are celebrated at the gala event, which includes live and silent auctions, food, cocktails and music. This inaugural year, the Grand Finale will be held May 14, 2011 at the Hilton– Omaha. Local sponsors include Flemings, Hilton–Omaha and metroMAGAZINE and SpiritofOmaha.com. Following the campaign, the winners are recognized through local and national publicity.

The original Man and Woman of the Year competition began in 1990 in Northern California. The first event was held in remembrance of John Spencer, a valued Hastings Department Store employee who died of leukemia at the age of 39. It was in John’s memory that Hastings began supporting LLS. Since then, more and more chapters have added the Man and Woman of the Year campaign. In 2010, candidates raised more than $11.8 million for blood cancer research and patient services.

To learn more about the Man and Woman of the Year campaign, visit www.MWOY.org.


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