A tandem of fundraisers for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) that took place in Texas and New York were successful in raising nearly $800,000 to support ongoing and future research initiatives for new therapeutics for blood cancers. Special thanks goes to the most prominent fundraisers of the 25th anniversary year of the unique Man & Woman of the Year Campaign, Jason Fleischer of the Abacus Group in New York who managed to pool $302,045, and Erin Ragsdale of Allyn Media in Dallas who raised $469,158.
Fleischer and Ragsdale were two of 900 candidates across America vying for the prestigious title of Man or Woman of the Year, which in total achieved raising funds worth $32 million – over a million more than last year’s pooled pledged donations.
“The Man & Woman of the Year campaign continues to show the power and impact that one person can make. These community leaders use their influence and passion to raise staggering amounts of funds in a 10-week period, and are truly helping LLS to create a world without blood cancers,” said Louis J. DeGennaro, Ph.D., LLS president and chief executive officer.
Jason Fleischer, the Abacus Group’s senior director in the Accounting and Financing, has been an active supporter of the LLS even before he decided to pursue the title of Man of the Year. He incorporated unique and creative fundraising methods, such as a large cornhole tournament and a date auction to gather this year’s generous contribution to the LLS, which he does in fond memory of the many friendships he has formed during his 10 years as a coach on Team In Training.
Erin Ragsdale, the senior vice president of Allyn Media, beat the record for most funds raised from any Man & Woman of the Year candidate. It was only 4 years ago when she became an active supporter of the LLS, when her nephew was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). While he is now cancer-free, Ragsdale is committed to continuing active support for he LLS. She was the former vice chairman and chairman of the Donor Development Committee of the Board of Trustees, and chairman of the North Texas Chapter Board of Trustees. Her 2015 campaign garnered the generous contribution of one of her good friends, Brint Ryan, whose father is currently battling his own diagnosis of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This donation ranks as the single largest contribution of the campaign, and earned Ryan the title of Man & Woman of the Year’s National Honorary Chair.