Fighting back against blood cancer
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Man of the Year fundraising drive will wrap up with a series of Grand Finale celebrations throughout the country on Saturday, including one in Portland. Several Lake Oswego businesses participated this year to help fundraise for local participant and lymphoma survivor Kevin Kirkpatrick.
The 10-week competition began March 4. The winner and recipient of the Man or Woman of the Year title will be announced at the finale on May 12, and each dollar the candidates raise will count as one vote. The LLS will use all of the money raised to fund blood cancer research, patient services and education.
"We're really proud of what we did and I think we gave it as much energy as we could have, so we feel really good about what we've done," Kirkpatrick told The Review this week. "All the events we put together and all the awareness, the money we raised too, and just getting the message out there about LLS."
The fundraising totals will be announced at the finale celebration. Last year, seven local candidates — including Lake Oswego bake shop owner Kyra Bussanich — raised more than $400,000 in 10 weeks; nationally, the contest generated more than $46 million.
Kirkpatrick works at MassMutual in Lake Oswego, which has already been a sponsor of LLS in previous years. The father of three was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma in April of last year, and quickly began an aggressive six-month regimen of chemotherapy treatment. He was pronounced disease-free in December.
During the treatment phase, MassMutual was also able to connect Kirkpatrick with LLS to provide additional resources. Last fall, LLS approached him with a nomination to campaign as a Man of the Year candidate. Kirkpatrick accepted, and set a goal to raise $100,000 during the 10 week campaign period.
"The campaign has been stressful, kind of throwing a second full time job onto our schedule," Kirkpatrick said. "After last year it was a lot to dive into, but we knew that this was our opportunity to make an impact. And I think we did make an impact over the last 10 weeks."
In addition to MassMutual, Lake Oswego businesses Babica Hen Cafe and Burn Cycle both joined in the fundraising efforts, along with Firebrand Sports, Muscles in Motion and the Portland Acupuncture Group. Babica Hen held a Dining Day event during which
a portion of one day's proceeds was donated to the fund.
Information about how to donate can be found on Kirkpatrick's campaign page at pages.mwoy.org/oswim/oswim18/kkirkpatri.