29-year childhood leukemia survivor and business owner running for LLS Woman of the Year

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For immediate release

For more information contact
Sara Pokorny

March 9, 2017, Hatfield, MA – Sally Ekus, a 29-year survivor of childhood leukemia and co-owner of The Lisa Ekus Group in Hatfield, kicks off fundraising for her Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Woman of the Year campaign today.

The Man & Woman of the Year (MWOY) campaign is a blind 10-week stretch of fundraising in which one dollar donated is equal to one vote. The campaign culminates on May 18 at a finale gala in Boston, where the man and woman who raised the most funds will be named the 2017 winners. Sally – a literary agent and co-owner at The Lisa Ekus Group, improv performer, and longtime LLS fundraiser – was nominated by the Boston Chapter of LLS as a candidate, where she was welcomed on to the board last year.

Sally was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at three-and-a-half years old, a discovery that came quickly after a routine pediatric check-up and set off a whirlwind of 27 months of chemotherapy and a changed lifestyle for a child so young.

“Heading to the hospital for spinal taps and balling up tightly on the crinkly paper-lined table, well, that was just a thing that needed to happen some days,” Sally recalls of that period of her life. “Just like some days if my blood counts were low my family would have to pivot plans and keep me inside so as not to be exposed to even a simple cold. Chicken pox could kill me.”

Sally was cured in August 1993, and in the years since has been a part of numerous LLS fundraising campaigns. However, this one takes on a whole new meaning. It’s her only shot to win the coveted title, and she not only wants to make it count for herself but those who are going through a life she’s all too familiar with.

“I am running for Woman of the Year because I want to show the parents and children going through treatment right now that life after cancer is possible,” she said. “Life is beautiful.”

Sally’s goal is to raise over $125,000. If she reaches that, she will be able to link her name to one of LLS’s cutting-edge research portfolios.

“To go from being a patient, to survivor, to being linked to ongoing research would be an incredible accomplishment and beneficial to so many who have, and will, be touched by a blood cancer,” she said.

Donations to Sally’s campaign can be made by visiting this link (http://www.mwoy.org/pages/ma/ma17/sekusa) or sending a check to 57 North Street, Hatfield, Ma 01038, payable to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, with “Sally Ekus” in the memo section. Check deadline is May 5. All donations are greatly appreciated and tax deductible.

Fundraising events:

  • Cook Up A Cure: A Brews and Bites Benefit for LLS, will be held on Saturday, April 8 from 6 to 10 p.m. at New City Brewery, 180 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA.
  • Happier Family Comedy Show: April 15, 4-5 p.m., in the community room of Eastworks, 116 Pleasant Street, Easthampton, MA.

For more information, ways to donate and help, or to learn about sponsorship opportunities, contact campaign manager Sara Pokorny at spokorny13@gmail.com. For more information about LLS, please visit www.lls.org.

Things to know about LLS and the campaign:

  • Every 4 minutes someone new is diagnosed with a blood cancer, and every 10 minutes someone dies.
  • Many LLS supported therapies not only help blood cancer patients, but are also now used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers and are in clinical trials for patients with lung, brain, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers. And LLS funded drugs like targeted therapies and immunotherapies are now saving thousands of lives every day.
  • As a candidate for the MWOTY, Sally is running to honor the chapter’s local blood cancer survivors, the Boy and Girl of the Year, Cole Moniz and Teaghan Bresnahan.
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