So here it is. 10 weeks from now, there will be a black tie gala here in Fort Wayne to celebrate the efforts of 6 individuals who are raising crazy amounts of money to benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). This campaign (“race” henceforth) is called the Man & Woman of the Year. I am one of those women. And, I am a leukemia survivor.

Here is where you’ll learn my story. A story which some of you may already know; others may not. A story which is so near and dear to me yet one which I’ve not revealed to the magnitude which I’m committed to revealing now. No, this isn’t some People-Us Weekly-George Clooney-like attempt to bring publicity to a movie. This is real life. Names will not be changed (sorry, some of you).

This is real life with real people, including our local Boy and Girl of the Year – Greyson Snyder & Kellcey Nichols – two brave kids who have been diagnosed with blood cancer. You will learn about them, their battles, their triumphs, their families, and how WE are going to help. Every dollar I raise in this whirlwind of a 10-week race counts as one vote. The candidate with the most votes is named the Man and Woman of the Year at the gala on April 26th.

I want that night to be a party. A party to celebrate life and all its ups and downs. A party to celebrate what a city like Fort Wayne can do when it comes together and works hard. A party to celebrate, thank, and honor patients, survivors, families, and friends because guess what? Cancer doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t just affect the person who had to hear the words, “it’s cancer” or the parents who had to tell their 3 1/2 year-old little boy “you’re sick, buddy.” It affects everyone we know. This disease is far reaching. But here’s where we step in and say – reach this, cancer. You’re going down.

So before the work begins and that final party starts, here’s my one and only sales pitch (What? Those of you who know me find that ironic? C’mon.)

I ask that you join me in supporting LLS by making a tax-deductible donation to my fundraising campaign. All contributions will help fund LLS programs, including research, patient services, advocacy, public and professional education, and community services.

Thanks to LLS’s research funding over the years, blood cancer survival rates continue to climb. The ONLY choice I had when I was diagnosed 14+ years ago was a Bone Marrow Transplant (more on that part of the story later). Today, that’s not the case and it’s strictly due to money being raised for R&D. Not only are LLS supported therapies now used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers, they’re even being tested in clinical trials for patients with a range of cancers including lung, brain, breast, pancreatic and prostate. In addition, many LLS funded drugs are being tested for patients with non-cancerous diseases such as diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

LLS is leading the way in cancer research. LLS doesn’t mess around. And neither do we. My goal you ask? $100,000. I’m gonna need some help, people. Help me help others like Grey. Like my running buddy, Brad (more on him later). Like people you know.
For more information about LLS, please visit www.lls.org.

Sales pitch over. Game on. The race is starting. Check this blog (or http://www.beth4lls.com) daily for updates on the campaign, the fundraising events, the pictures, and all the stories. I am committed to writing to you every day. Commit to reading, learning, and yeah…donating.

71 Days until the party. Let’s go.

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