CAMBRIDGE — The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of the Eastern Shore hosted its seventh annual Man & Woman of the Year Grand Finale Gala, breaking fundraising records and bringing the network collectively for a commonplace reason.
This yr, the campaign broke its “Fund the Fight” report, gathering nearly $100,000 in only minutes. “Fund the Fight” is a lightning spherical of fundraising in the course of which anybody inside the room frantically donates as a lot money as they could in a brief amount of time.
The very last tally for the gala, held Saturday, June 8, on the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort in Cambridge, turned into $359,434.
A large component of these budget came from the 2019 Man & Woman of the Year, Joe Bunce and Kennedy Thomason, who delivered in greater than $one hundred twenty five,000 together.
Every year, the network nominates male and woman applicants, who spend 10 weeks intensively elevating funds for LLS blood cancer studies efforts. The candidates who increase the maximum finances end up the following Man or Woman of the Year.
Thirteen candidates have been subsidized through a crew of circle of relatives and buddies who assist them host fundraising occasions leading as much as the main occasion: the Gala.
This 12 months’s male winner, Bunce, from team Crushin’ Orange, addressed the crowd after his win, pronouncing it’s “simply shifting to look that we’re creating a distinction.”
This is the fifth consecutive win for Bunce’s Crushin’ Orange group, which Bunce stated has raised extra than half of a million greenbacks in the course of the beyond five years.
“It’s no longer just about the money,” he stated. “It’s helped convey our family closer together and helped us get through dropping our mother to cancer. It’s been a massive element for us.”
The female winner, Thomason, who currently graduated from North Caroline High School, also received the Angela M. Bullock Award for her “sizeable compassion” closer to the fundraising mission.
The Angela M. Bullock Award, in honor and memory of an Eastern Shore female who misplaced her war with most cancers, is given each year to at least one “very unique” candidate who personifies the mission and exemplifies Angela’s will to combat.
Through tears, Thomason stated she changed into “so thankful” for her own family’s aid and commented at the strength of all of the survivors inside the room.
“You are so strong, and I am stimulated via you all every day,” she stated. “It’s been a wild ride those past 10 weeks, however I wouldn’t have it every other manner, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”
This 12 months’s runners up for Man & Woman of the Year, B.J. Wheatley of group Brewing Up a Cure and Rachel Hines of group Capel Strong 2.0, raised a collective $96,179.
In addition to Bunce, Thomason, Wheatley and Hines, Trish Bucci represented fifth generation Team It’s A Cure Thing, Faith Mills represented first era organization Team Against All Odds, Jennifer Walczak represented Team Johns Flock, Amanda Kettering represented Team Invisible Rockstars and Carrie O’Connell represented Team O+ Crew. Kat Crowell Gunby, Robert Chandler, Jeremiah Burns and Eric Clough additionally joined the marketing campaign as contestants.
Of the night time’s many highlights, one second that resonated with guests and organizers alike became the story of cancer survivor Jack Wheatley, who spoke for the duration of the event.
Wheatley said he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia after a recurring bodily on the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, where he studied and played baseball.
He stated joining the Coast Guard changed into the best choice he ever made. But rapidly after he joined, he concept his life become ending.
“I do not forget going mute for a protracted period of time,” he said. “Silently processing the truth that my lifestyles could now be changed forever, the existence I fought so tough to create.”
Wheatley stated spending 5 months at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore receiving remedy that modified the way he seemed and felt.
“Months of now not eating, losing weight, feeling nauseous and throwing up took an widespread toll on my body,” he stated. “Yet I continued nevertheless.”
But he admitted, searching again at his war, he had the “easy element.”
“My doctors and the nurse group at Johns Hopkins had been, as Kevin Durant would positioned it, ‘the real MVPs,’” he said. “With their know-how and splendid care and with the horrifying yet tremendously powerful remedy of chemotherapy, I changed into given a hazard I thought would in no way appear once more, a danger to stay my lifestyles once more.”
Now, more than years after his diagnosis, Wheatley stated his cancer remains in remission and he has started out studying at University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business.
He stated notwithstanding his development and successes, his existence “is still haunted by way of the danger of my worst enemy returning.”
“There’s not a unmarried day that is going via with out the thought of my most cancers returning,” he said, earlier than imparting his gratitude to all and sundry within the room. “Thank you for combating for a future so one can with any luck exist with out the danger of Leukemia and Lymphoma.”
A Boy and Girl of the Year are also selected every yr to represent the campaign. The 2019 Girl of the Year turned into Brianna Merritt and the Boy of the Year changed into Nicholas Sipes. Nicholas changed into recognized with poorly-differentiated chordoma most cancers remaining summer time. Merritt become diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on Nov. Eleven, 2016.
In 2018, the Eastern Shore LLS furnished greater than $800,000 to patients in Maryland for fees which includes tour and co-will pay.
Since the campaign began in 2012, it has helped to elevate more than $2.1 million for blood most cancers research, patient support and advocacy.
The assignment of the LLS is focused on eradicating blood cancers. But a lot of the research funded through the inspiration benefits those suffering from different varieties of most cancers, as nicely.
The Eastern Shore marketing campaign keeps to combat for a therapy, with the “extraordinary generosity” and “unwavering help” of its sponsors, candidates and donors.