Beating Cancer is in Their Blood: Meet the 2019 Man & Woman of the Year Candidates

Beating Cancer is in Their Blood:  Meet the 2019 Man & Woman of the Year Candidates
Candidates at the Kickoff on March 21st at SAX in Washington, D.C. Photo Credit: Jenifer Design

“The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign was one of the most honorable and humbling experiences of my life and I will cherish it forever.  It’s an amazing feeling to raise money for such a worthy and impactful organization.”
– Danielle Turcot, 2018 Woman of the Year

Each year, in communities across the country, dedicated candidates engage in an exciting competition to earn The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)’s “Man & Woman of the Year” titles. Raising funds for LLS blood cancer research the candidates compete in honor of children who are local blood cancer survivors, the Boy & Girl of the Year.

Known as one of Washington’s top fundraising events each spring, The Man & Woman of the Year (MWOY) campaign is a spirited 10-week fundraising event in which 20-30 men & women set out to raise as much money as they possibly can for LLS in that 10-week period. This year, 26 candidates have set a combined goal of raising $2.5 million for critical cancer research while also raising awareness for LLS’s mission: to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS is the world’s largest national voluntary health organization dedicated to curing blood cancers improving the quality of life of patients.

One of those 26 candidates is taking on an even bigger challenge as she is representing The National Capital Area chapter of LLS in the 2019 All Star competition. The Man & Woman of the Year All Star campaign launched in 2014 as a fundraising competition among a select group of Man & Woman of the Year alumni. One former Man and Woman of the Year candidate can be chosen to represent their local market as the All Star Alum for that year. The male and female All Star alumni who raise the most during the campaign will be named the National Man & Woman of the Year All Stars. Allyson Spring of NetApp was hand-selected by the leadership of the NCA chapter to represent the Washington, D.C. market.

The Man & Woman of the Year winners will be announced at the Grand Finale Gala on June 1st, 2019 at The Anthem with dinner, dancing, a fabulous live and silent auction and dancing.

The 2019 campaign co-chairs are Evelyn Akers of Malloy Toyota and John Brookbank of Cisco Systems.

This year’s fundraising is in honor of two special patient heroes, the 2019 Boy & Girl of the Year: four-year-old Grant & five-year-old Lucia, young blood cancer survivors.

Meet Girl of the Year – Lucia!

It was right after Christmas when Lucia’s family started noticing unusual bruises on her legs and a fever that wouldn’t go away so they took her to the Emergency Room on New Year’s Eve. Lucia was diagnosed on January 1, 2018, with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (High-Risk). Chemo treatment started the following day and lasted for 45 days straight until she reached remission to move on to the 2nd phase of treatment. Lucia was in-patient for almost a month and she had to learn to swallow big pills (oral chemo), take steroids and endure bone marrow biopsy procedures, all after turning just 4 years old. It was an intense 9-month treatment protocol, but each time she went for chemo, she treated it as an opportunity to play with nurses and doctors, to participate in art therapy and make new friends.  Her infectious smile and fun spirit have been an inspiration to everyone that she’s met. By the end of September 2018 she completed her treatment for APL and was confirmed to be in complete remission. Lucia, known affectionately as Princess #LuciaBrave, is fun-loving, kind, super friendly and loves hugs. She is just started preschool and is looking forward to attending Kindergarten in August.

Meet Boy of the Year – Grant!

May 23rd, 2017 will forever be a day Grant’s family will never forget. After a series of strange symptoms which included excessive bruising, refusal to walk, explaining that his “body hurt”, and small red dots (petechia) all over his body, Grant was diagnosed with B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He started treatment the next day at Children’s National Hospital and spent the next 25 nights in the hospital while receiving his first round of intense treatment. On June 27, 2017 Grant’s family got the incredible news that he was officially in remission! Since then, he’s completed 5 rounds of treatment over an 18-month period which has included bone marrow biopsies, regular spinal taps, daily oral chemotherapy, and chemotherapy injections into his spine and port. Grant is currently in the Long-Term Maintenance phase of treatment which will last until August 1, 2020. Grant, lovingly referred to as “Grant the Champ”, has endured so much in the last year and a half, but his strong character has not waivered one bit. Grant is precocious, highly social, unflappable, funny, happy, active, and talkative. He loves racing, turning anything into a competition, spending time with his family, attending preschool, building tall towers and being a big brother!

Quick Facts:

  • The 28th annual MWOY competition of the National Capital Area runs from March 21st – June 1st, 2019. The top male and female fundraiser are named Man & Woman of the Year and continue on to compete for the national title.
  • The 2019 campaign goal is to reach $2.5 million. The National Capital Area Chapter consistently holds one of the top Man & Woman of the Year campaigns in the country, and since 2000, has placed thirteen national winners.
  • The announcement of the Man & Woman of the Year winners is a celebration of all the candidates’ efforts as a collective class on June 1, 2019 at the Grand Finale Gala. Surrounded by team members and friends, they enjoy food, cocktails, music and an outstanding live and silent auction.

How Candidates Fundraise:

  • Final candidates are chosen from those nominated, and then form their own teams and use their contacts and creativity to raise funds. Every candidate and each of their team members will get their own personalized fundraising webpage to reach out to friends and contacts. Chapter staff will assist candidates in goal planning and serve as fundraising consultants.
  • The campaign also includes events and parties that allow candidates to meet their fellow candidates and other local business figures.

Grand Finale Gala, presented by Presidio: The announcement of the Man & Woman of the Year winners is a celebration of all the candidates’ efforts as a collective class. Surrounded by team members and friends, they enjoy food, cocktails, music and an outstanding live and silent auction.  Presenting Sponsor, Presidio is joined by Table Sponsor, Iron Bow Technologies; Auction Sponsor, Summit IG; “The Envelope Please” Sponsor, Blue Lagoon Foundation; Hydration & Libation Sponsor, New Signature and Entertainment Sponsor, Wilmington Trust as top supporters of the campaign.

Are you interested in getting involved?
Please contact Megan Swahn at  or 703.399.2922 for more information.  Purchase Tickets or become a sponsor here.




Allyson Spring, All Star Candidate

Lauren Barr Jebsen, Candidate

Tina Gupta Basalla, Candidate

Rocky Bowers, Candidate

Jessica Burgess, Candidate

Sir Charles Cary, Candidate

Anthony Egbuniwe, Candidate

Jacob Garlick, Candidate

Eric Grossman, Candidate

Joshua Habursky, Candidate

Michael Hartman, Candidate

Erin Lange, Candidate

Blair Larkins Seyfried, Candidate

Chris Leopard, Candidate

Loree Lipstein, Candidate

Matthew Lopez, Candidate

Rob McGowan, Candidate

Christine Mills, Candidate

Michael Paesani, Candidate

Erica Pizzeck, Candidate

Demitrius Puente, Candidate

Kathryn Roche, Candidate

Jonathan Spaeth, Candidate

  Chris Townsend, Candidate

Kelli Wickline, Candidate

Rob Williams, Candidate