Working Toward a World Without Blood Cancers

As owner of Andiamo Restaurant Group, I understand the impact Leukemia and Lymphoma can have on our lives, our families and our health.

In 2011, I lost a dear friend, James Giftos, following his long battle with Multiple Myeloma, a blood cancer related to Leukemia. Giftos made a strong impact on the community and is perhaps best remembered as founder of National Coney Island. He was an esteemed figure in Detroit, in the restaurant industry, and is remembered by his colleagues, family and friends.

I believe we can all benefit from a world without blood cancers like leukemia and lymphoma, and am an advocate for working toward a cure.

This year I am proud to serve as a national candidate in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s esteemed Man & Woman of the Year campaign.

If you don’t know the name, chances are you know the impact of their work at the LLS. It is the world’s largest voluntary health agency dedicated to blood cancer, and their mission is to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families.

This year, the Man and Woman of the Year campaign is working to raise funds in honor of two very impressive and inspiring individuals. Both 7-year-old Blake Beers and 15-year-old Aleison Kowalski, 2016 Boy and Girl of the Year, are Michigan blood cancer survivors.

Blake was only 2 ½ when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, a condition that caused fever and such pain he could not sleep for more than 10 minutes at a time. After blood transfusions and treatment Blake has been healthy for 2 years. He enjoys playing baseball and soccer.

Aleison, a South Lyon East High School student and cheerleader with Premiere Athletics Michigan Xtreme in Plymouth, is proud to be recognized this year. In March 2007, at age 5, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia Pre-B Cursor, but through proper treatment 2 years later she achieved complete remission.

We can work together to create more success stories like these, and aim toward a world without blood cancers. Now through June 11, 2016, every dollar raised through the campaign goes toward efforts to fund targeted therapies and immunotherapies that save lives and impact all affected by blood related cancers.

joe v 4 (1)We also welcome you to join us at the Man & Women of the Year Grand Finale, set for 6-10 p.m. June 11 at the Andiamo Celebrity Showroom, 7096 E. 14 Mile Road in Warren. A silent auction begins at 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and dancing with music by the duo Cool Change.

Submit your vote, a donation to this cause, and make a difference in the lives of those impacted by blood cancers. Donations are accepted March 30 through June 11, 2016 at all Andiamo locations or Joe Muer Seafood.

About the Author: Joe Vicari is founder and CEO of Andiamo Restaurant Group. Click here to cast your vote online or for more information on the event.

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Photo Credit: Globe_West_2048 via Flickr (feature),  A Healthier Michigan (inset)

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