2019 NCA Man & Woman of the Year Crowned

2019 NCA Man & Woman of the Year Crowned


24 dynamic and relentless candidates collectively raised $2.78 million in an energetic ten-week fundraising campaign, culminating at The Anthem for the 2019 Grand Finale Gala, presented by Presidio & Custom Ink

(Washington, D.C.) - The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) celebrated the close of the 28th annual National Capital Area Man & Woman of the Year campaign on Saturday, June 1st at the Grand Finale Gala, presented by Presidio and Custom Ink. Eric Grossman of DLA Piper, LLP and Jessica Burgess of Presidio took home the titles of the 2019 Man & Woman of the Year.

Jessica Burgess, of Annapolis, MD, has worked with Presidio for more than 14 years. Her decision to participate in this year’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign stemmed from her desire to get her family involved in a cause that she holds near to her heart. “My team ‘Links for LLS’ came up with a very simple idea, for every ten dollars somebody donated, we wrote your name on a paper link and added it to our chain. At the end of the campaign as a community, we amassed over 30,000 links and we took these links on the road from Governor Larry Hogan’s office to local lemonade stands and everywhere in between,” Jessica shared while accepting her award. She thanked her company, Presidio, the team at Solace Brewery who brewed their own Lifesaver IPA benefitting LLS, campaign managers Denisse James and Kristin Scott and entire ‘Links for LLS’ team, as well as her family. She congratulates all of the candidates and shared that “this isn’t the end” in their fight against blood cancers.

Eric Grossman, of Fairfax, Virginia, was inspired to get involved after being nominated by his friend, Erika Chambers. “I want to first acknowledge my fellow candidates, for their tireless work over the last 10 weeks, and acknowledge our fearless campaign leaders John (Brookbank) and Evelyn (Akers) for their leadership and support during this campaign. Thank you to Grant and Lucia, our Boy & Girl of the Year, and to their families, for being a daily reminder during this campaign of just how important this mission is… I want to thank Team Blood, Sweat & Tears for joining me on this mission… my brother Lanny, and my two handsome boys, Ethan and Alex, my girlfriend Desire and my parents. Taking on this challenge was about living up to the values my family modeled for me.”

“My grandparents, who are no longer with us, long ago imparted the wisdom that while it’s nice to do well, it is imperative to do good. Supporting an organization as impactful as LLS is unquestionably what it means to do good. LLS is curing blood cancers in real time,” shared Grossman while accepting his award.

Along with Grossman and Burgess, LLS also recognized First Runners-Up, Demi Puente of Iron Bow Technologies, and Loree Lipstein of Thread Strategies, and Second Runners-Up, Chris Townsend of Symantec, and Erica Pizzeck, for their dedication to supporting the LLS mission. Loree Lipstein is a former LLS staff member who reflects on her time at LLS as one of the most important times in her life and has helped set her course.

Allyson Spring of NetApp ran this year in competition for the national "All-Star" title. The All Star campaign is a fundraising competition among a select group of Man & Woman of the Year alumni; one former Man and Woman of the Year candidate can be chosen to represent their local market as the All Star Alum for that year. The National All Star winners will be announced later this month.

All of the 2019 candidates raised money in honor of this year’s Boy & Girl of the Year, Grant and Lucia, leukemia survivors. These two young patient heroes were chosen for their strength and winning attitudes and are sources of inspiration for the positive attitudes and determination to never give up. The fathers of both heroes shared their cancer journeys and how proud they are of the candidates and of LLS’s recent Children’s Initiative, a powerful commitment to helping children not only survive but thrive in life after treatment.

“We celebrate the important progress being made in the field of blood cancer research; the outstanding support of our leadership team; and the generosity of our corporate partners and individual donors,” Beth Gorman, Executive Director of the National Capital Area Chapter said. “Thank you to the incredible men and women who participated in the campaign and help us make strides in treatments for blood cancers. These 24 candidates are true champions of the LLS mission.”

Gorman was recognized for her nineteen years of service at the National Capital Area chapter. Starting next month, she will begin a new position as Vice President of Fundraising and Innovation for LLS.

During the Gala, three individuals received Citizenship Awards which recognize those candidates whose contributions exemplified the following three areas: Mission, Volunteerism, and Community Outreach. This year’s winners, in order of the award, were Christine Mills, Lauren Barr Jebsen, and Jessica Burgess.

This year’s Masters of Ceremonies and Honorary Co-Chairs were Cori Coffin and Steve Chenevey of FOX5DC who brought their incredible energy and passion for the mission to center stage. Event co-chairs, Evelyn Akers of Malloy Toyota and John Brookbank of Cisco Systems, had the honor of announcing the grand total raised by the candidates along with Jennifer Foote of the Blue Lagoon Foundation.

LLS would like to thank the 2019 Man & Woman of the Year campaign sponsors for their generous contributions. This year’s top sponsors include: Custom Ink, Presidio, SummitIG, Iron Bow Technologies, Blue Lagoon Foundation, New Signature and many generous gold, silver, and bronze-level sponsors. Washingtonian supported as the exclusive Media Partner for this campaign for the 12th consecutive year.

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 Rye Brook, NY, LLS has chapters throughout the United States and Canada. To learn more, visit www.LLS.org. Patients should contact the Information Resource Center at (800) 955-4572, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. ET.

About The National Capital Area Chapter

LLS has 56 chapters, and the National Capital Area Chapter is one of the highest revenue-generating chapters in the nation. The National Capital Area Chapter serves Washington DC; the Maryland counties of Prince George and Montgomery; and the Virginia Counties of Loudoun, Fairfax, Arlington, Prince William, and the city of Alexandria. More than 2,700 patients and families are served by the chapter each year. Follow @LLSNatCap on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.