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Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's 2014 Man & Woman of the Year Competition Kicks Off

Every year dynamic, passionate philanthropists throughout the country engage in a spirited competition to earn The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's "Man & Woman of the Year" title by raising funds for blood cancer research. For every dollar raised, candidates receive one vote and at the end of ten-week campaign, the titles are awarded to the man and woman who garnered the most votes.

The San Francisco Man & Woman of the Year campaign runs from now through June 7. During this time, participants will use their talents, contacts, and creativity to raise funds to help advance LLS's mission.

Without further ado, we introduce 2014's candidates for the San Francisco Man & Woman of the Year. Donate and vote!

Amanda Lee

Inspire. This word has resonated with me my whole life and will be used to guide me through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2014 Man & Woman of the Year campaign. Growing up with an immigrant single mother, I was always taught to do everything with purpose and perseverance. 

As a former Miss Asian California and Miss Chinatown USA 1st Runner-up, I carried those titles to inspire young women to fight for their aspirations. Growing up in the small town of Davis and now residing in San Francisco, a diverse city with many inspiring young professionals, I strive to find ways to make a difference and give back to my community. As a current employee of Salesforce.com, I am able to represent a very charitable organization that will allow me to inspire myself and others. 

When my father passed away of cancer a year ago, I realized how much it affects people each and every day. Cancer comes in all forms and it is our job to work together to find a cure and make the lives of those affected a little better by funding research. My hope for the funds I raise will take us one step closer to finding a cure to this disease.

Alton Moore

Alton has humbly accepted the nomination for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) 2014 Man of the Year in honor of his cousin Tracie Harris. Tracie lost her battle to lymphoma almost six years ago; but she will always be remembered. Alton is committed to raising funds to support the improvement in quality of life for blood cancer patients and their families. 

Alton Moore is a Vice President at Liberty International Underwriters, a division of Liberty Mutual Insurance Company. He has been underwriting management and other specialty liability insurance products for almost 14 years.  Alton, a native New Yorker and his wife Colleen, a native Georgian, reside in the Glen Park neighborhood of San Francisco. When Alton is out of the office, he enjoys snowboarding, volunteering, and socializing with his friends and family. 

Anjou Ahlborn 

Anjou is honored and blessed to accept the nomination for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2014 Woman of the Year in honor of her parents; her mother Dr. Anjana Ahlborn and her late father, Karl G.E. Ahlborn M.D. They inspired her and were her role models in helping others and giving back to the community. Her father was the medical director for Hospice of Contra Costa. Anjou was able to work by his side, providing many patients with cancer and AIDs support and comfort at the end of their lives.  

Anjou Ahlborn works for FusionStorm, helping deliver IT to companies. She is the founder and owner of Bamboo Asia, a restaurant in the San Francisco Financial District that provides fresh Asian combinations, She co-founded the team, HackCancer, along with 2013 Man of the Year Steve Chen. Anjou is eager to serve a great cause and is dedicated to bringing together her network, representing the SF Bay Area, fundraising and raising awareness to help find a cure for blood cancers and all cancer research. 

She loves spending time with her family, friends, exploring San Francisco, traveling, scuba diving, the SF Giants and her two dogs Mitzi and Polo.

Brad Carrick

Brad is honored and humbled to accept the nomination for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s 2014 Man of the Year.  Brad founded Project SHINE in order to bring the fashion and creative arts community together in the battle to end cancer.  He has set ambitious goals for his campaign and has dedicated himself and his team to using their talents to make a difference.

A graduate of Harvard Law School ’05 and IE Business School in Madrid (’10), Brad is a Managing Partner of the fashion and entertainment law firm Lord Bertram and the founder of the lifestyle brand SOLZ, winner of designer of the year at the 2012 SF Fashion Awards.  He also has served as the host of San Francisco Fashion Week and is Editor-in-chief of the online magazine Legally Vogue.  Brad sees the creative arts as a true example of what we can do when given the chance to SHINE and hopes to inspire people to act to help make this opportunity a reality for everyone.  

Catherine Courage 

Catherine is a tech exec who works for Citrix and is a member of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Greater Bay Area Board of Directors. She was first introduced to LLS in 2008 when she joined Team In Training to train for her first half marathon. She was so impressed with the program and its mission that she continued to train with marathon and triathlon teams for several years as a mentor.  Joining the Board of Directors has allowed Catherine to extend her contribution to other aspects of the organization in an effort to cure cancer. 

This year is a significant milestone for Catherine, as she will be turning 40. Rather than whine and moan about this number she has realized that she is incredibly grateful for her health, family, friends, career and many other aspects of her life. She would like to celebrate this milestone and the years to come by supporting those who are not able to enjoy life to its fullest due to battles with cancer. Catherine and her team Courage Beats Cancer are excited to make a difference in this 10-week challenge. 

Chrissy Delisle

Chrissy has been actively involved in the sports and entertainment industry for nearly 17 years and recently launched her own company, The Delisle Group. She is a Northern Californian native—born and raised in the South Bay and has been a resident of San Francisco for the past ten years. She enjoys jet setting, boating, sports, yoga, philanthropy, creating unique experiences, challenging the status quo, and dabbling here and there in San Francisco restaurant investments.

Chrissy was honored and humbled to accept the nomination to be The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2014 Woman of the Year. She is proud to dedicate her campaign ‘4th & Cure’ in loving memory of the legendary Coach, Bill Walsh, who lost his own battle with leukemia in 2007. Coach Walsh dedicated his life to helping others reach their own potential and during the ten-week campaign, the ‘4th & Cure’ team will help The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society get closer to its goal line by creating memorable experiences and events you won’t want to miss. 

David San Jose

David’s personal connection with cancer began at a young age. His mother, who was in her thirties, was diagnosed with bone cancer in the 1970s. Experimental treatments saved her life and she was in remission until 2010 when she spent a year in the hospital fighting infections. David also spent time at Valley Medical Center interning as a chaplain where he would spend time conversing with cancer patients.  

In high school, David began his career in the trucking freight industry, later becoming a truck driver for electronic trade shows, and eventually taking over responsibility for trade show personnel management in the Bay Area. He started his business, San Jose Custom Cabinetry, in 2005. 

David spends a lot of his time giving back to the community.  He spent five years as a youth pastor, coached basketball, and now volunteers for the Spring Valley Fire Department as a fire apparatus operator and instructor at their fire academy.  

In November of 1998, David met his bride Sarah in Milpitas.  He has three children: David Jr., Tatiana, and Belah and one beautiful granddaughter Evangelina.  When he is not working hard at his business or giving back to his community, one may find David loving life with his family camping, enjoying the outdoors, boating, fishing or hunting.

Don Pangilinan

“Pushing boundaries” is how Don describes his time with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Team In Training. He has taken some time off from Team In Training to be with his wife and four- year-old son but still wants to support by pushing his fundraising boundaries for the Man & Woman of the Year Campaign. 

For the last six years, Don has been part of Team In Training as a member of the cycle, run, triathlon and most recently Iron Team.  A self-proclaimed couch potato and shy about asking for anything, he never thought in his life he would have cycled thousands of miles, and ran and swam so much.  Nor would he have ever believed he could raise thousands of dollars in the fight against blood cancer.   

Born in San Francisco, he is a true Bay Area native. A graduate of San Francisco’s Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory High School, Santa Clara University, and the East Bay’s JFK School of Law, he is an immigration attorney based in San Francisco.  Don lost his mom to Hepatitis C in 2012 and hopes that the research funded by LLS will crossover and help people suffering from this liver disease, which is often contracted through blood contact.  

Why is he fundraising?  Six years ago (in his second Team In Training season) he was touched by a child, who was fighting and losing her battle, while he was struggling to start his family. Children are our future.  Don knows this because he sees it in his son’s eyes.  But what caused him to sign up this time?  When he was nominated in late 2013, Don learned that a friend, IronTeammate and an honoree had relapsed.  It was time to push the boundaries once more.  It’s time to bring this research into its next stage of development and find the cure!   

Elina Elek

Elina moved to San Francisco from a small town in Siberia, Russia in the middle of the tech bust of 2000. She started her career as a CPA at one of the Big Four professional services firms and later worked at Genentech and Equinix. Elina is the Founder and CEO of a social fundraising platform, SunnyKarma.com and has served on the Finance Committee Board at MayView Community Health Clinics for the past five years. 

She founded her social enterprise company, SunnyKarma, to provide a business and technology savvy platform that makes fundraising more engaging and rewarding. Her passion for philanthropy and technology helped create her long-term vision for SunnyKarma—a social network based around philanthropy that connects individuals and organizations to causes they care about while providing cutting edge technology for effective and rewarding fundraising. Elina is offering this platform to all fellow 2014 Man & Woman of the Year candidates and their supporters to supplement their fundraising campaigns at no cost. 

Elina lost her own brother to cancer in 2013 and therefore, she is hoping to save lives of others by raising funds for cancer research and timely diagnostics and treatment. 

Gil Cheso

Bay Area Relationship Manager, Republic Services 

Gil Cheso has worked in the waste industry for over 30 years, beginning as a route driver for San Mateo County Scavenger and is currently responsible for community and government affairs in the Bay Area for Republic Services.  Gil worked closely with City of San Jose staff during the transition of the “open market” commercial collection system to the new franchised collection and processing system. Upon award of the contract to Republic Services, he was part of the negotiations team with the City and ZWED.  Gil has a B.A. in History from the University of San Francisco.

Gil is honored to have this opportunity to increase funding and awareness for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.  He is dedicating this campaign to his friend, Tyler Michel, who fought a courageous battle with Hodgkin’s disease before he passed away.   Tyler and his wife, Beth, introduced Gil and his wife, Nancy, over 25 years ago!  Gil is excited to promote such a great cause to support funding for cancer research.

Harriet Stricklen

Harriet Stricklen is the founder and owner of AMG-A Management Group, a project management firm specializing in healthcare and professional sports leagues. Harriet is an active member of Solano Yacht Club, PICYA (Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Association) and United States Coast Guard Auxiliary. She enjoys sailing, and supporting causes that help underserved communities and populations. She was born and raised on the Peninsula and has lived in San Francisco’s North Bay Area for 34 years.

2014 is Harriet’s first year being involved with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS).  She is personally passionate about the mission of LLS effort as she has lost several family members and friends to leukemia and myeloma. The money she raises will help fund The Quality of Life Research Initiative's goal to make current therapies less harmful without sacrificing effectiveness, thus making a difference in patients' lives who have leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma.  Additionally, she hopes to bring awareness to the “everyday” community of individuals in order to motivate everyone to get involved to work together fund research efforts to cure cancer.  

Jason Purtori 

Jason is the Vice President of Design at Causes, the inventor of online advocacy and civic engagement. He joined when his company, Votizen, was acquired in January 2013. Votizen was built to break the cycle of big donors and special interests to deliver better politicians, and a more responsive government to the American people. Jason was appointed by Mayor Ed Lee to the Board of Directors for the San Francisco Conservation Corps in 2014, and is a frequent speaker on both design, and the intersection of technology and politics.

Before co-founding Votizen, Jason was the founding designer of Mint.com and held the lead position until Mint’s acquisition in 2009 by Intuit. He then left to become the Designer-in-Residence for Bessemer Venture Partners, and was the first to hold such a role at a major venture capital firm. He’s an advisor and investor in several startups in Silicon Valley. In January 2012 he was named to Forbes 30 Under 30 for social media and mobile. He holds a Computer Science degree from the University of Pittsburgh, and was the youngest ever MFA candidate at Parsons School of Design. 

Jason was born in Niskayuna, New York, and has been a Bay Area resident since 2007. 2014 will mark the third year Jason has participated in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign alongside friend and campaign manager Christina Resasco.

Marc Hopkins 

Marc Hopkins is a Sales Director with Veros, a leading predictive technology and analytics company. He is the father of two wonderful kids, Michael and Alexis. He has written five novels and is an avid reader. He likes to stay active and has completed several Ironman events, challenging bike rides, triathlons, marathons, 50 mile runs, swims from Alcatraz, and much more.

Marc first started fundraising with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in 2007 through Team In Training. In addition to being a fundraising participant, he has coached for six seasons on the triathlon and marathon teams, helping over 500 people raise money and cross the finish line. He has been involved with the Man & Woman of the Year campaign over the past couple of years and is honored to be nominated. Marc is excited to see just what is possible with the help of his committee, Team CURE, and he looks forward to tallying up the totals at the end of the campaign and seeing how much the candidates were able to raise!

Tim Shaw

Tim Shaw is a survivor of stage four Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He was diagnosed when he was 29 years old and celebrated turning 30 with his third chemo treatment. A Chef and Chef Instructor for the past 20 years, Tim cooked at several New York City restaurants before starting his own private chef and catering company. He was also an Adjunct Instructor at New York University, teaching nutritionists about food safety and recipe and menu development. In addition, Tim has been a Chef Instructor at the International Culinary Center (formerly French Culinary Institute) in both New York and Campbell for the past nine years. 

When not cooking or teaching, Tim lives with his partner Adam in Redwood City with their two amazing rescue dogs, Cooper and Sebastian. He enjoys photography, making pottery, hiking, geeking out with Adam, and one day swears he will be proficient at some musical instrument. 

He dedicates his work on this campaign to his mom, Pat, who is a breast cancer survivor, and his Dad, without whom he could not have gotten through his cancer experience, his brother Jeff, his wife Robin, and their kids. Most importantly he never would have gotten through the seven months of chemotherapy without the help of his 'little' brother Charles. 

Tom Watson

Tom Watson is a Senior Sales Associate and top-producing agent at San Francisco’s Climb Real Estate Group.  Prior to his career in real estate, Tom was an inventory planner and buyer for Macy’s in Atlanta and Duty Free Shops in San Francisco.  Originally from Columbus, Ohio, he’s lived in Oakland for the last 17 years and is happy to call the Bay Area home.

Tom fills his free time with numerous activities, trips and hobbies. Among his favorite past times is going to Pt. Isabel with his girlfriend, Laura, and their five dogs, flying remote control airplanes, and the occasional unplanned jaunt up to Sonoma. As a graduate of The Ohio State University, Tom lives for Saturday mornings in the fall and Big Ten Football.

Tom was honored to accept the nomination to participate in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2014 Man and Woman of the Year fundraising campaign.  His sincere hope is that his efforts will have a significant impact on the campaign’s overall fundraising goals.