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 fundraisers each spring, The Man & Woman of the Year (MWOY) campaign is a spirited 10-week fundraising competition in which 20-30 men & women set out to raise as much money as they possibly can for LLS. This year, 22 candidates have set a combined goal of raising $3.5 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. The 2020 Man & Woman of the Year campaign will run Thursday, May 7 – Saturday July 18, 2020. LLS is the world’s largest voluntary health organization dedicated to curing blood cancers and improving the quality of life of patients.
One of those 22 candidates is taking on an even bigger challenge as he is representing the National Capital Area chapter of LLS in the 2020 All Star competition. The MWOY All Star campaign launched in 2014 as a fundraising competition among a select group of 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. James Roberts, founder of Intentional Wealth Partners, 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 July 18th, 2020.
The 2020 campaign co-chairs are Evelyn Akers of Malloy Toyota and Carl De Groote of Cisco Systems.
This year’s fundraising is in honor of two special patient heroes, the 2020 Boy & Girl of the Year: five-year-old Dylan & six-year-old Eilidh, young blood cancer survivors.
Meet the 2020 Boy & Girl of the Year!
Meet Girl of the Year, Eilidh
Eilidh’s name is Scottish Gaelic and means “light”. Even since she was a tiny baby, she has been able to easily connect with people and light up the room around her. She cares deeply for her friends, loves her family, and tenderly “mothers” her baby dolls. At just four years old, Eilidh was diagnosed with leukemia after her parents noticed large bruises on her legs. This January 2020 she rang the victory bell at Children’s National marking the end of her 28 months of chemotherapy treatment. Eilidh has endured this battle with bravery and kindness, fighting every day for a long future of health ahead of her.
Meet Boy of the Year, Dylan
Since the moment Dylan entered this world, as he does with every room he steps into, he does so with such charisma. He is loud, wild, and endearing – he captures the attention and hearts of everyone around him. Just before Thanksgiving 2016, and a few weeks before he turned two, “Dylan The Destroyer” started to get sick. He had a constant cough, back to back ear infections and cold symptoms that wouldn’t ever fully clear up. After several trips to the pediatrician, on Wednesday, January 18, 2017, his family’s lives were changed forever when Dylan was diagnosed with leukemia. Dylan started chemotherapy the very next day and has since undergone countless spinal taps, multiple blood and blood product transfusions, bone marrow aspirations, and more. Today, Dylan is doing very well and is on track to be done with his treatment in May 2020.
- The 29thannual MWOY competition of the National Capital Area runs from May 7th – July 18th, 2020. The top male and female fundraiser are named Man & Woman of the Year and continue on to compete for the national title.
- The 2020 campaign goal is to reach $3.5 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 July 18, 2020 at the Grand Finale Gala.
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.
Are you interested in getting involved? Please contact Megan Swahn at Megan.Swahn@lls.org or 703.399.2922 for more information.
Meet our 2020 Man & Woman of the Year Candidates!
All-Star Candidate James Roberts – Intentional Wealth Partners
Peter Black Jr. – Splunk
Linda Graziano – AppQueen Digital
Fernando Guedes Jr. – Ace Construction DMV
Chris Gumiela – MGM National Harbor
Paul Haase – Octagon Inc.
Cylda Hodo – First Home Mortgage
Plamena Mechkarova –AAMC/ Sunny Pools
Matt Morrison – The Irving Law Firm
Jasmine Palmer – Pure Barre Falls Church
William B. Prendergast – WFP/ The Prendergast Team
Nathan Scalla – Clark Construction
Tina Swallow – Cisco Systems
Ezra Weinblatt – CBRE