A pair of East Valley residents are raising funds to benefit a cancer charity and earn recognition as the organization’s man and woman of the year.
Chandler resident Scott Harkey and Tempe resident Schavon Waggoner are among 10 finalists for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year awards, respectively. They are among five men and five women for each award in the midst of a 10-week fundraising drive to raise the most money to donate to the society’s local chapter. Winners of the local competition then have their totals compared with others across the country to vie for national recognition.
The money raised during the event goes to benefit the efforts of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, which supports research behind finding causes of blood cancer.
The drive, which began in March, ends on May 16 with an award ceremony at Talking Sticks Resort to honor the winners and recognize the boy and girl of the year. The winner of the former, Jack Welch, is a 6-year-old Chandler resident who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia when he was 4.
For Waggoner, the cause she’s supporting is near and dear to her heart, as she was diagnosed with leukemia as a 14-year-old. She made it through the treatment and has remained in remission for 20 years.
“I want to be able to give back and share my story,” she said.
Harkey’s attachment to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and his campaign for the man of the year stems from his friend, Rocky, whose mom was diagnosed with leukemia approximately five years ago.
“It wasn’t about the ego boost; it was about Rocky and his mom,” he said.
Harkey and Waggoner have taken their own approaches to fundraising, with Harkey receiving funds through several individual campaigns and contributions from the Arizona Diamondbacks, Phoenix Suns, Arizona Cardinals, Bondurant and other organizations.
Waggoner has received aid from similar groups and is working on other projects such as a happy hour and an auction, but her main fundraising efforts are rooted in her job as an assistant principal at Central High School in Phoenix. Waggoner said her students have collected change over the course of several weeks as part of a penny drive, and said they’ve garnered $1,600 so far.
“Every week they collect pennies, and it’s exciting to see them,” she said.
Visit http://www.mwoy.org/az/ for more information about the competition or to donate.
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