Jacob Interviews….LLS Man of the Year Candidate Leo Dominique

Leo Dominique is nominated for the Mid-America chapter's Man of the Year. He will be hosting the Vintage Prom on Saturday, April 28. (Photo property of Jan Datu Photography)

By: Jacob Elyachar

All throughout the United States, the Leukemia and the Lymphoma Society chapters nominate local men and women to raise the most money to represent their chapter in the national Man/Woman of the Year awards.    This author had the chance to interview Mid-America chapter candidate Leo Dominique about the organization, his reaction to being nominated and one of his biggest fundraisers: the Vintage Prom.

Jacob Elyachar: Leo, could you please describe what the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society does for the community?

Leo Dominique: Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is a volunteer based non-profit organization and it is the largest in the country that has one basic mission: to raise money to find a cure for blood cancers.   In addition to raising money for research purposes, the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society also supports livelihood journeys for victims and their families recovering from leukemia, lymphoma, myeloma and any other blood cancers.

JE: What attracted you to this charity?

LD:  I have always volunteered my entire life and when I came to Kansas City, I was lucky enough to get involved with a friend of mine’s campaign.  During that volunteering process, I got a chance to see some things and meet some people who have been affected positively by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and negatively by blood cancers.   While I was interacting with these people and volunteering with Julie Ray, I became connected and attached to the mission and the potential to do so much good with this organization.

JE: What was your reaction when you received the news that you were nominated for Man of the Year?

LD: I was very honored and anytime someone says that you have done a great job in our community, you can do more and this is how we are going to show that we appreciate you.  You can’t be anything but humbled and honored that you were given the opportunity to take the role and run with it and see what you can do for the community.

JE: What do you have to do to become Man of the Year?

LD: The nomination process is based upon the nominating committee.  If you are apart of the nominating committee, your responsibility is to go out to the community and find people who are able to essentially rally troops, put together events and use your connections to raise money.   The entire purpose of this entire campaign is to raise money to find a cure for blood cancers.

JE: Can you tell me about your campaign?

LD: My committee and I are planning large fundraising events.  We have a date auction that we have done for two years in a row.  We put together a mother-daughter drag race that was essentially put in place to not only raise money but to bridge a social gap between the straight and the gay communities so that they could come together and raise money.   We are putting together a vintage prom and that is going to be a large gala event.     The reason why we focused on our events because those are going to be the best way to get the word out to what the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society does, how it affects people and what you can do to help them outside of the Man/Woman of the Year campaign.

JE: One of your biggest fundraisers that you spoke about is your vintage prom.  Can you tell readers about the event?

LD: Last year, my dear friend Jason Landrum and I were going vintage shopping and we talked about how our group of friends has the capacity to put our time and energy towards more charitable.  While we were there, we were goofing off and ended up picking up an old tuxedo and trying it on.  We came out of the dressing room and stated that we needed to do something and decided that we were going to put together a prom.

We put that prom together at my home last year and decided that after the success that it was and every one of our guests decked themselves out and enjoyed our company.   We decided that the next time that we were going to make it a charitable event.   Luckily enough for me, I was honored to be nominated for Man of the Year.   So we immediately turned this vintage prom into a charity event.   We have people going to be coming and dressing up from any era that is not current and bring a date.  DJ Ashton Martin and DJ Shelby White will provide the music, Town Pavilion has donated the space and Grand Slam Liquor has donated alcohol and bartenders for the event.    Everything that will be featured at the event is donated.

We have been very lucky with this event that it has turned from a couple of guys shopping and messing around to one of the biggest charitable events that is offered in Kansas City.

To learn how you can help donate to Leo’s campaign, click here: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Leo-for-LLS-Man-of-the-Year/261439253917644

To learn more about the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, visit the group’s Web site: http://www.lls.org/

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Copyright 2019 Jacob Elyachar