Woman of the Year

If you’re my Facebook friend I’m sure you’ve heard about my Woman of the Year campaign.  Just in case you haven’t (and even if you have), I’m going to talk about it more.  Let me back up a little and tell you how I got roped into this.  I wanted to volunteer for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) as a ‘first connection’, which is someone who talks to someone who is newly diagnosed and shares their story, answers questions… that sort of thing.  I filled out the form online and never heard anything.  Then in December I get a call from my cousin Dustin’s friend Andrea, who is on the committee for the Man & Woman of the Year (MWOY) Campaign for SW MO, asking if I would consider being a candidate.  I was really just wanting to volunteer, not be that involved, but I told her we could talk after the holidays.  In January I had lunch with Andrea and Beth, who is in charge of the campaign.  Beth sent my info along to be a first connection volunteer, but also told me all about the campaign.  I told her I’d think about it.  Now, if you know me, you know just how competitive I am.  I told her I’m not going to accept unless I know I can win.  After a couple more meetings and trying to gauge the support I would have, I accepted in February.

Thanks to Joanna for designing our logo!

Thanks to Joanna for designing our logo!

How it works:  In a nutshell, it’s a fundraising competition.  There are 6 candidates in SW MO, 3 women and 3 men.  So to win, I have to raise more money than the 2 other girls.  Doesn’t sound so hard as there’s not many people to beat out, but we’re talking about raising a lot of money.  The two winners last year combined raised $22,000 and as a group they raised more than $50k.  I can’t officially state my goal as it’s a blind contest, but let’s just say it’s a lot.  We have from now until June 21st to collect money then on June 27th we have a Grand Finale Gala.  At this event we can have 5 silent auction item groupings and 1 live auction item, which counts towards our final fundraising total.

I need your help and here’s how:

  • Donations through my fundraising page-  http://www.mwoy.org/pages/mid/swm13/lwinsteij5
  • Do a small fundraiser on my behalf – initiate a dress down day at your work, do a bake sale, yard sale, etc.
  • Auction Items – We are collecting items from local businesses, but I am also needing out of town things- specifically a 2 night hotel stay in STL.  We will take any and all donations you can get your hands on, especially if you can get your hands on some iPads or exotic vacations 🙂
  • Support our local events- Next Event:  Celebrity Shake-Off on Thursday, May 2nd, at Parlor 88 East – find more information on the FB Event page – https://www.facebook.com/events/533988946643669/  Jay Fotsch from Power 96.5 and Springfield Cardinals fame is my celebrity
  • While you’re at Parlor 88 East for the Shake-Off, purchase a $1 blood drop.  You can also do this at south side Parlor, any Dublin’s Pass or Big Whiskey’s Location.  Tell your friends or let me know if you’d like to sell blood drops as well.
  • Follow the FB page to keep up to date on all events:  https://www.facebook.com/LauraWinsteadWOTYCandidate  We are working on something really cool so you’ll want to stay updated.
  • Buy a ticket or table to the Grand Finale Gala on Thursday, June 27th:  http://www.mwoy.org/pages/mid/swm13/lwinsteij5 – ‘Attend the Grand Finale’ Button

I have an amazing campaign team that’s been working their butts off to help me so far!  My cousin Dustin is my campaign manager and has been putting a lot of time, thought and energy into this!  John, Torie, Neal and Niki are all in it to win it too and I love it!  We are overcoming some frustrating defeats in planning fundraising events, but are also super excited to roll out the next one in the works.  All of the fundraising is done in honor of a Boy & Girl of the Year and the team got to meet these cute little kiddos last week at Kick-Off!

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For me, raising money for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is a way to give back to an organization that helped me upon my diagnosis.  Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) is the #1 cancer in children, but thanks to research over the years, the survival rate is over 90%!  My hope is that with more funding and research, we can raise the adult ALL survival rate as well.

Every dollar puts me one step closer to my goal and every donation is so greatly appreciated!!

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

When I was at the Outpatient Center on Monday I had a “social worker” come by and tell me about different resources that are offered for patients. One of the the things she did was have me sign a form from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society that allows them to send us a check for $150, just because of my diagnosis. I was very surprised to learn that money people raise/donate gets cut directly to patients to help cover costs for whatever they may need.

I’ve had lots of people asking what they can do to help. I have been telling people to donate blood and/or platelets, but there are other ways to get involved too.

There are local events you can participate in to raise awareness/ money, here is what the Luekmia & Lymphoma Society offers:
Team in Training: For you crazy people who like marathons, half marathons, triathlons, 100-mile century bike rides and hiking adventures.
Light the Night: Raise money during a leisurely walk carrying illuminated balloons – white for survivors, red for supporters and gold in memory of loved ones lost to cancer.

Relay for Life is another great organization, it is the big fundraising event for the American Cancer Society. At Relay, teams of people camp out at a local high school, park, or fairground and take turns walking or running around a track or path. Each team is asked to have a representative on the track at all times during the event. Because cancer never sleeps, Relays are overnight events up to 24 hours in length. I know some of my cousins have been talking about setting up a team this spring in De Soto,which would be awesome!

Please don’t take this blog post as me wanting you to do anything at all! I just was looking into ways to give back/ donate/ raise awareness and thought I’d share what I found. 🙂