The LLS Boy & Girl of the Year
When Joe Belluomini approached me about being a nominee for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) “Man of the Year” I was definitely intrigued, but a little apprehensive. Lately, I’ve been thinking of ways to broaden my philanthropic work, which has included Big Brothers of America and Hands on Bay Area, so Joe definitely had my attention. Working at Mozilla has also taught me a lot about the difference and scale a group of motivated people can achieve, so the idea of doing something as impactful as “Man of the Year” got me excited.
The apprehension part: the publicity and speaking involved with “Man of the Year.” I’m ok with attention, but I’m uncomfortable being the center attention, as I’m sure most people are. But as I’ve gotten more involved with the campaign, that sense of anxiety has dissipated. The campaign isn’t about me — it’s about raising funds in honor of Calvin Kamson and Adrianna Tucker, the LLS Boy and Girl of the Year.
Let me tell you about them: Adrianna was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia on November 3, 2005 and began treatment the very next day. Throughout her treatment she remained positive, always helping the medical staff and being involved in her personal treatment plan. This April marks three years since her last treatment and although she is no longer taking medication, she routinely goes for check-ups every three months. Today, Adrianna is a happy and energetic 7th-grader with a 4.0 GPA. She aspires to attend UC Davis and become an oncology veterinarian. Adrianna plays basketball and runs track and cross country for her school. In June 2007, she earned her black belt in Kajukenbo.
In Fall of 2005 Calvin was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL). In December of 2008, Calvin celebrated his 8th birthday and his final treatment for ALL. His post-treatment regimen includes six months of antibiotics to boost his immune system, monthly visits to the oncologist and routine blood draws for the next two years. Calvin is a very happy and bubbly second-grader who enjoys school and loves to learn. His likes playing video games, watching movies and playing hoops with his brother Tayo. He is currently enrolled in a drama class and rehearsing for a play production in April. In his “free time” he plays baseball, basketball and soccer!
The adversity that Adrianna and Calvin have had to face and the bravery with which they faced it has been incredibly inspiring to me. I am deeply honored to raise money in their name. The money raised will go to additional blood cancer research, providing critical information and support for patients, caregivers and health care professionals. Research funded by LLS has led or contributed to such advances as chemotherapy, bone marrow and stem cell transplantation and new, targeted oral therapies such as Gleevec.
In support of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society I will be organizing several events culminating with the 7th Annual Monte Carlo Night at City Hall. Again, I’m deeply honored and excited about the campaign and even though the economic climate is challenging, I’m confident that people will still see the importance of sparing what they can to help with such a worthy cause and campaign. While I’m raising funds in the name of Calvin and Adrianna, I’d like to encourage people to share stories and post pictures of how they have been effected by Leukemia, Lymphoma and other blood related cancers.