|Eric Inge with his wife, Kristy, at the 2013 Man and Woman of the Year grand finale event.|
Every year, more than half a million Americans die from cancer, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. With such a deep impact, the disease is tied to nearly every American.
For some people, that connection leads to action.
Eric Inge, a 34-year-old father of two, was inspired to make a difference when he learned leukemia is the second-most common cause of death among children, only behind car accidents.
For Stacey Mikel, 35, cancer is more personal: She was 19 years old when she lost her mother to lymphoma.
“In some way, we are all affected by these situations,” Mikel says. “Each of us who can has an obligation to give back.”
Give back they did. After raising a combined $108,231 for cancer research and patients, Inge and Mikel were named this year’s Man and Woman of the Year by the Palm Beach chapter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
The annual competition challenges nominated participants to spend 10 weeks gathering donations for LLS. The male and female candidates who raise the most are crowned the winners. But the real winners are the cancer patients who receive financial support from the organization. This year, the Palm Beach chapter contributed $800,000 for local patients’ medical treatments, and the 13 Man and Woman of the Year participants raised more than $278,000.
“We hope to reach the new patients within 30 days of their diagnosis and stay with them, assisting them in their cancer journey,” says Pam Payne, executive director of the group.
Inge and Mikel hope their participation in the competition will inspire others to get involved and help improve lives—including their own.
“The single biggest part of my growth as a young professional has come through volunteering,” Inge says.
Stacey Mikel raised $50,316 for the Palm Beach chapter of LLS, while Eric Inge raised $57,915.
Photo by Bob Dobens Photography