Lessons Learned in the Fight Against Blood Cancer

As we enter the final weeks of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign, I wanted to take this opportunity to reflect on what a tremendous privilege it’s been to raise these sorely-needed funds to defeat blood cancer—and especially to do so in honor of my dad.

The Man & Woman of the Year campaign is a 10-week philanthropic competition that supports blood cancer research across the U.S. Each candidate forms their own fundraising team, and the man and woman who raise the most funds are named the Man or Woman of the Year in their community.  

As a candidate, I formed Team Cancel Cancer back in March, and since then, the team has reached out to friends and family, addressed dozens of envelopes, and sent countless e-mails, asking for support. Every day, I comb through my network and think, “Who haven’t I yet asked to give to LLS?”

Truepoint team members, clients, and vendors have all answered these calls in a big way, and their generous contributions have pushed us so much closer to reaching our goal of $200,000 in service of cancer research. I’ve been overwhelmed by this show of support.

It may seem unusual to describe fundraising as a privilege. After all, it’s a lot of work, too! But over the past several weeks, I’ve been repeatedly reminded of some valuable lessons that have truly enriched my life, as well.

Discovering a Deep Sense of Gratitude 

People are overwhelmingly generous—with money, with time, with their support. Time and again, I see in countless ways that people just naturally want to help. I have been amazed and humbled by the support I’ve received throughout the campaign. A thank you note simply can’t express the gratitude I feel. And, with the pandemic, it’s been a bit more challenging to thank my team members and supporters in person. However, we’ve connected as a team weekly via Zoom to share strategies, motivate each other, and learn. We were also recently able to hold an in-person event at Kenwood Country Club to honor some of our most generous donors. Still, I feel ill-equipped to adequately thank everyone for their kindness and generosity.

Sharing Personal Stories

I’ve long been aware of the sobering statistics surrounding blood cancers. Every three minutes, someone in the United States is diagnosed with a blood cancer, and about 1.3 million people in the United States are currently dealing with a blood cancer diagnosis. So many people’s lives have been affected by these diseases.

Yet by sharing my own experiences more broadly for the campaign, I’ve come to discover just how many people I know have lost a loved one to cancer or have a friend or family member who is a blood cancer survivor. Just within Team Cancel Cancer, around half of our members has lost a close friend or family member to blood cancer.

This campaign has given all of us the opportunity to share happy memories of those who have passed and to connect with others who understand firsthand the challenges of loving someone with cancer. Knowing someone with cancer is not a badge people wear on their sleeves, but so often, when I mention the campaign, people graciously share their own touching stories. I’ve also been deeply moved by the many friends who have shared stories of my dad and his impact on their lives. These stories keep his memory alive.

Deepening Connections with Friends and Colleagues

Two neighbors whom I have known for 30 years have joined Team Cancel Cancer. We raised our young children together, but as our kids got older, we saw each other a little less frequently. Well, now, we’re seeing each other every week to work on this campaign! I’m constantly reminded of how organized, capable, and fun they are. The campaign has also re-connected me with a college friend whom I hadn’t seen since graduation. He recently lost his father to cancer—another shared experience.

Several of my Truepoint team members, including Chris Carleton, Wayne Lippert, Adam Lipton, and Abby Tuke, also joined Team Cancel Cancer, and it’s been delightful to work closely with them on a more personal endeavor. I am grateful to work at a company that recognizes that life is about so much more than work. It makes sense—that’s how we approach our clients, too. We understand that our clients are more than just their financial ledgers. We want to understand their aspirations, their sense of purpose, and their families’ distinct personalities. We strive to build that understanding within our team at work, as well. The values that drive each of us make us unique and whole.

I’ve also been able to connect with many of the other Man & Woman of the Year candidates—each of whom have their own powerful “why” stories, too. In the midst of the campaign, one candidate began her CAR-T cell process—a treatment recently approved for multiple myeloma. Innovative treatments like CAR-T are the direct outcome of the cutting-edge research that our fundraising supports. My fellow candidate will complete her treatment process just days before the Man & Woman of the Year Campaign Grand Finale on June 12. I am hopeful that we’ll learn that this treatment has brought her one step closer to being cancer free.

Developing Perseverance

I’m proud to report that Team Cancel Cancer has raised over $130,000 for the LLS! This means that we will be able to name a research grant in honor of my father. And it looks like we will secure a grant in the name of Abby Tuke’s dad, too. With just a few days left in the campaign, we are still pushing toward our $200,000 goal. I imagine those closest to me may be a bit tired of hearing about blood cancer, the campaign, and the need to raise more funds. But I’m going to keep pushing. Patients who are battling blood cancer don’t get to take a rest, so neither do I.

So thank you to those who have followed me on this journey and supported this campaign. This has been a life-changing experience for me, and I hope that the funds we continue to raise will be life-changing in the fight against cancer. If you want to make a donation before our June 9th campaign deadline, please visit my fundraising page for Team Cancel Cancer.

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