Jacob Interviews…LLS Mid-America MWOY Campaign Manager Lauren Scheldrup


Taylor (on left) and her brother Daniel (on right) are this year's Boy and Girl of the Year for the Mid-America chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Man/Woman of the Year. (Photo property of the White Family and the LLS's Mid-America chapter).

By: Jacob Elyachar

Across the country, Leukemia and Lymphoma Societies pick out one boy and one girl to represent their chapters’ Man and Woman of the Year campaign.     The 2012 Mid-America Man and Woman of the Year Campaign’s Boy and Girl of the Year are Daniel and Taylor White.   Both siblings have suffered from two different types of leukemia and while 11-year-old Daniel is currently in remission from his Acute Myelogenous Leukemia, his five-year-old sister, Taylor is in maintenance therapy for her Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.        The Whites are this year’s motivation and inspiration for the Mid-America Man and Woman of the Year candidates.

Recently, I had a chance to sit down with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Mid-America MWOY Campaign Manger Lauren Scheldrup for an interview.  Our conversation focused the history of the campaign, how the finalists were chosen and how the public can help out with their favorite candidate’s campaign.

Jacob Elyachar: Lauren, can you please describe the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to my readers?

Lauren Scheldrup:  We are the largest blood cancer fundraising organization.  We have four different entities where we raise our money.   The first one is research.  We have raised $816 million since our inception in the late 1940s.   Another entity is our patient services, which are our more local piece, where we have an in-house patient services manager, who meets with our entire patient, provide support group where it connects patients with survivors and providing them with the financial resources and et cetera.  In addition, we have a large children’s holiday party at Christmas where we bring over 200 families in and celebrate with other survivors.  Along with that our patient services helps out with all different events and work with our patients themselves.

We also have a financial piece that is incredibly important.  We have a co-play assist plan where new diagnosed patients will automatically have $100 donated to them.  We also have a financial aid program so depending on their diagnosis; they will have up to $500 to $5,000 in assistance with their insurance.   Then, we have an advocacy piece on both the state level and the national level.

JE: How did the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Man/Woman of the Year campaign get started?

LS:  This year is our 20th anniversary, so it has been going on for quite sometime.  To my knowledge, I believe it started out with different younger professionals trying to help our society and they established that they were throwing third-party independent fundraisers and our headquarters came together with this campaign and they turned it into a competition and what’s better than encouraging people to help others through competition.

JE: Can you describe the process on how these candidates are nominated and selected to become finalists?

LS:  We (the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society) have an incredible nominating committee.  It’s about 40 very active committee members and through them, they help us identify, recruit, nominate and secure the candidates.  It is a five-month process, we would start in August and hopefully be done by December with our recruitment and we meet once a month with our committee.   Sometimes the committee members will attend the nominated meetings that I go to with the potential candidates and sometimes they will give me contact information just to follow-up on the potential candidates.

JE: Now that the finalists are chosen, what are their tasks that they must do in order to receive the title?

LS:  This is a fundraising competition so essentially every dollar raised is a vote and they to raise as many votes as possible.  Candidates have exactly 10 weeks to do this and they cannot collect any dollars or checks before our start date.  Throughout those 10 weeks, the candidates can fundraise in a plethora of different ways including fundraising events, sponsorships and paper lips (where there are small lips that you could sell in a retail store).    We have a large letter writing campaign, where candidates reach out to anyone through snail mail and electronic mail.  They can also utilize social media within that campaign.

My favorite thing about this campaign is that is different for every single person.  Sometimes candidates have great contacts in the community and have strong sponsorships.  Some people are not from Kansas City and so they maybe utilize the outside area.   Last year, we had a candidate from India and he did an incredible job in raising a lot of money and did a huge letter writing campaign because many of his contacts were back in India.

JE: How can the public help out the candidates?

LS: During these 10 weeks, please check out our Web site and find a fundraising event that interests you, we have such a variety including concerts to sporting events to happy hours, it is such a wide variety of ways you can help them raise money.   We have our grand finale at the end, that’s where we have a live and silent auction that also helps our candidates with their last fundraising push.  You are more than welcome to attend that event; it is on May 17 at Harrah’s North Kansas City casino.

For more information about Kansas City’s Man/Woman of the Year campaign, visit either their Website: http://mwoy.org/kc or their Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/mwoy.kc

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Copyright 2019 Jacob Elyachar