Kudos to Tommy Cleaver, of Washington D.C., and Mary Pillsbury Wainwright, who through their incredible fundraising efforts, earned the titles of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society 2012 Man of the Year and Woman of the Year.
This was a remarkable year for the entire 2012 Man & Woman of the Year campaign – as the more than 800 candidates who participated exceeded last year’s record-breaking year by raising $18.9 million for blood cancer research and patient services.
Cleaver, who is a 10-year survivor of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML), raised $271,933, the most ever raised by a candidate from LLS’s National Capital Area Chapter. Cleaver, a vice president at CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm, was diagnosed while a sophomore at Middlebury College, and kept his diagnosis a secret from most of his friends. He is a survivor today thanks to being among the first recipients of Gleevec, a groundbreaking therapy developed with help from LLS funding. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of his survival, he decided to do something big by taking on this campaign, and for the first time, sharing his story with everyone he knew. His team of more than 20 individuals, including his girlfriend, Leigh Polfer, secured corporate donations and conducted an extensive video campaign. CBRE supported the campaign as well, through media and as a presenting sponsor.
Pillsbury Wainwright, owner of Mary Pillsbury Fine Jewelry Company, single-handedly raised a record breaking total of $259,333, the largest amount raised by a candidate representing the St. Louis Gateway Chapter. Her determination to support LLS’ mission has been inspired by the loss of her husband, Ed Heitz, to acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) at the age of 38. Twenty-four years ago, she began hosting LLS’ Diamond Ball, an annual black tie event, and in 1987 she founded the Ed Heitz Memorial Research Fund for LLS, to focus specifically on AML research. This past year she directed her energy to the Woman of the Year competition, and her campaign’s success is credited to a combination of personal perseverance, letter writing and networking with the many foundations and corporations she is connected with.