The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Greater Bay Area Chapter Announces San Francisco 2013 Man & Woman of the Year

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Two locals, Steve Chen of Belmont and Christina Resasco of San Francisco, have been named the winners of this year’s San Francisco Man & Woman of the Year for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) – Greater Bay Area Chapter.

The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society - MWOY

Steve Chen has been named the San Francisco Man of the Year for his fundraising efforts

Congratulations to our winners, and to all of our candidates who participated in this year’s campaign. Their efforts really go far in bringing help and hope to patients and their families.

Steve Chen and Christina Resasco have earned the title of San Francisco Man & Woman of the Year for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS)—Greater Bay Area Chapter.

During a spirited ten-week cancer fundraising period beginning with a kickoff celebration, the candidates vie for the title, with success measured in the amount of money raised to help LLS fund research to find cures and better therapies for cancer and to provide information and support to blood cancer patients and their families. Candidates in each LLS chapter compete for the local title, and the highest fundraisers nationally earn the title of national Man & Woman of the Year. The national titles will be awarded to the top fundraisers in the country, to be announced this summer.

San Francisco Man of the Year Steve Chen has cofounded and invested in a number of internet startups and brick-and-mortar businesses in the Bay Area since graduating from UC Berkeley. He is the owner of San Francisco steakhouse 5A5; event planning company, A.List; and a new dating startup called ScreenDate. Having had family affected by cancer, Steve hopes that his efforts with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society will help to pave the way for a better future for his children’s generation.

Woman of the Year Christina Resasco has been involved with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society since 2009 and has worked on four consecutive Man & Woman of the Year campaigns. Christina hopes that the money she raises will help The Quality of Life Research Initiative to reach its goal of making current therapies less harmful without sacrificing their effectiveness. Additionally, Christina is working to bring together leaders in the medical and technology community to solve medical challenges by utilizing mobile technology.

With the support of their campaign teams and community, all eleven candidates collectively raised over $550,000 to support blood cancer research and honored patients, including LLS’ Girl & Boy of the Year.

San Francisco Girl of the Year, Sarah Banholzer, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in October 2006 at the age of four-and-a-half. Immediately after her diagnosis, Sarah’s family rushed to Oakland Children’s Hospital, where they were met by a team of oncologists and hematologists who informed them that Sarah’s blood was 93% filled with leukemic cells, leaving hardly any room for normal blood cells to develop. The next day, Sarah began what would turn out to be two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy. Today, she is a vibrant and leukemia-free fifth grader. She is healthy and enjoys swimming, playing softball, crafting, baking, watching the Giants with her Dad, and playing with her friends.

Boy of the Year, Rhett Krawitt, suddenly became very ill in 2010 and was rushed to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital where he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Within hours, he underwent surgery and began chemotherapy, which marked the beginning of a three-year recovery process. Rhett stayed 87 days in the hospital for the first phase of life-threatening blood cancer treatments and faced many complications. Along with the many uncomfortable side effects of nausea, hair loss, and bone pain, Rhett had a compromised immune system, as well as serious infections in his liver, spleen, and kidneys that further complicated his treatment and recovery. While his treatment is now less intensive, cancer cells are still present and can cause a relapse if not eradicated. Though Rhett is still battling cancer and must make routine trips to the hospital and clinic, he is doing great and is back in preschool. Rhett is just one of many who have benefitted from the research and advocacy of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“Congratulations to our winners, and to all of our candidates who participated in this year’s campaign,” said Catherine Brown, Executive Director for LLS’ Greater Bay Area Chapter. “They are all passionate and determined individuals, and leaders in their communities. Their efforts really go far in bringing help and hope to patients and their families.”

For more information about the Man and Woman of the Year campaign, visit http://www.mwoy.org/.

About The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society ® (LLS) is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer. The LLS mission: Cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. LLS funds lifesaving blood cancer research around the world and provides free information and support services.

Founded in 1949 and headquartered in White Plains, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit http://www.LLS.org or contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. ET.

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