The Grand Finale of the ten-week fundraising campaign, Man & Woman of the Year, on behalf of The Connecticut Westchester Hudson Valley chapter of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) took place at the Hilton Westchester in Rye Brook, NY. The 2018 class of candidates celebrated raising over $525,000. This philanthropic competition involves a group of motivated individuals in communities across the United States to support the LLS mission: to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. Candidates compete in honor of two local children who are blood cancer survivors. The man and woman who raise the most funds are awarded the prestigious title of Man or Woman of the Year in their community.

Congratulations to Derek McNeil and Freda Wang, the 2018 Man & Woman of the Year. McNeil is the Managing Director of the Mid-Atlantic Region for Seibert, Cisneros, Shank & Co., LLC, and Wang is the Managing Director of the Public Sector & Infrastructure Group of Goldman Sachs & Co., LLC.

“After seeing how much cancer truly affects everyone around the world, I am honored to win the title of Man of the Year! It has been such a rewarding experiencing serving these past 10 weeks and I could not have done it without the support of my family, friends, sponsors, donors and the LLS staff,” said McNeil.

Freda was grateful to all of her supporters, saying: “Thank you to everyone who helped me achieve this incredible goal! Cancer has affected my family in too many ways and I know the funds raised can only help save more lives. Winning the title of Woman of the Year and being involved in this campaign has been an experience I will never forget!”

The runners-up were Lindsay Wyman, Gina Lomurno, recipient of the Mission Integration award, and Diane Rakoff, recipient of the Team Spirit award. Guest speakers included Dr. Alanna Levine, pediatrician at Boston Children’s Health Physicians. She and her family have experienced firsthand the effects of dealing with cancer. Her 13-year-old son Charlie has been battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia since 2015. And, the 2018 Girl of the Year—Callie Zola, who was diagnosed at 16 years old with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and is now in remission—spoke about her experience as a high school student dealing with cancer.

Guests danced to the music of the Charlie Scopoletti band, enjoyed a full course dinner, participated in the silent and live auctions conducted by auctioneer Benjamin Farrell, and continued pledging during the Fund the Fight paddle raise. Over $73,000 was raised throughout the evening. Sponsors included The Chambers Family Foundation, Crown Holding Capital, Goldman Sachs, Siebert Cisneros & Shank, Soeder Associates and RBC Capital Management.

Photographs by Cheryl Moss