Each year, in communities across the country, dynamic, passionate candidates 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. Every dollar counts as one vote, and the titles are awarded to the man and woman with the most votes at the end of ten weeks.
The campaign lasts ten-weeks between February and June, during which participants use their talents, contacts and creativity to raise funds to help advance LLS's mission. It's interspersed with events and parties which will allow candidates the opportunity to get to know "the competition," and other local business figures, and experience the energy and spirit that give this campaign its special flair.
Meet 2011's candidates for the San Francisco Man & Woman of the Year below—each are goal-oriented and compassionate and their relentless efforts are focused on making life better for hundreds of thousands of patients battling blood cancers: leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. Donate and vote for their campaigns at www.mwoy.org/sf
|1. Aggie Bonpua|
Philippines-native Aggie Bonpua is participating in the Man & Woman of the Year campaign in honor of her brother, Louie Bonpua. Diagnosed with chronic myelogenous leukemia in the fall of 1997, Louie was part of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team-in-Training program as a triathlon participant. He completed nine triathlons and one Ironman before he passed away in 2002, hours after carrying the Olympic Torch down Crissy Field in San Francisco. Aggie launched Soulmates Wines in honor of her brother, a venture that supports The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with every bottle purchased.
|2. John Caine|
John Caine has been involved in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society since the passing of a close family friend, Angie Costello, from cancer. He's the owner of SF waterfront favorite, Hi-Dive, located underneath the Bay Bridge at Embarcadero & Bryant streets. Love of family is John’s priority and a driving force in this ongoing battle against these forms of blood cancers.
|3. Phillipe Lee|
Philippe Lee founded SF's Jade Studio Productions & The Memory Lounge in 2000. Since then, it has grown into an award-winning media production company offering photography, video, graphic design, set building and customized bookbinding services. With the support of his loving family and friends, Philippe is honored to accept the candidacy nomination for the 2011 Man & Woman of the Year Campaign.
|4. Mark Zafra |
Mark Zafra has been with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society since 2005, and currently volunteers and serves on the Board of Trustees of the First Connection Program, Light the Night and Team in Training, with which he has completed over 20 seasons of marathons, triathlons, hikes, and ultra-marathons. His first-ever triathlon in 2005 was special because he was able to train just days after going into remission from Hairy Cell Leukemia (HCL), a rare form of chronic leukemia. Every season, Mark is inspired by the advances in blood cancer treatment and research breakthroughs that are made possible by the funds raised by LLS.
|5. Monika Sola|
Monika Sola works as an Account Director for Redwood City-based Turn Inc., the industry’s only end-to-end platform for managing data-driven digital advertising. Monika’s passion to raise money for LLS cancer research was ignited when close friend, Ashton Wright, was diagnosed with stage four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in November 2010. Twenty-four year old Ashton is an inspiration to her friends, family and the San Francisco community as she courageously fights this disease. Monika is dedicating her campaign to Ashton’s fight.
|6. Rosemary Gong|
Rosemary Gong is the author of Good Luck Life, The Essential Guide to Chinese American Celebrations and Culture. She is a member of the Chinese Historical Society of America, Chinese Culture Center, Asian Art Museum and the Author’s Guild. In the summer of 2008, Rosemary was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). With the help of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, she learned how to navigate through illness and find support through the First Connection peer-to-peer program. By being a First Connection volunteer, she has come full circle. All her blood counts are now normal. She hopes to pay forward her good fortune, and the honor of being a LLS Woman of the Year candidate, to advancing a cure for blood cancer.
|7. Shelley Constantini|
Shelley Costantini a skin care specialist with a cult following that's included politicians and actresses. She's the founder of BellaPelle Skin Studio, a renowned skin care and waxing studio in San Francisco. A number of years ago Shelley watched a loved-one battle cancer. She saw firsthand what chemotherapy, radiation treatments and bone marrow transplants can do to a person’s spirit and body. Her loved-one lost his battle, which is one of the reasons she is so dedicated to raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS). Cancer treatments can be very harsh on the patient’s skin, which is a challenge Shelley wants to help them alleviate.
|8. Kenneth A. Winn |
Whether he's volunteering his time to teach financial literacy to high school students or participating in mentorship programs for elementary school students, Kenneth realizes the importance of giving back. Thanks to his ten years in the United States Marine Corps as well as his time working at Merrill Lynch specializing in wealth management strategies and consulting, Kenneth recognized the need to give toward a greater good. He hopes to continue his support for honorable causes through The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s 2011 Man & Woman of the Year campaign.
|9. Sheryl Nigro|
Sheryl Nigro, an executive coach and leadership development advisor, thoroughly enjoys the developmental and transformational aspects involved in her business. She approaches the Man & Woman Of the Year campaign with the sincere hope of making a meaningful contribution toward making blood cancers -- and cancer -- a thing of the past. Sheryl is dedicating her fundraising activities this year to her amazing mother, Doris, who is a breast cancer survivor and to the memory of her much-missed friend Finn Voldtofte, who passed away very suddenly from acute myeloid leukemia in December, 2006.
|10. Deron Kartoon|
Deron Kartoon, the Chief Operating Officer of Varitan, Inc. Capital Solutions and former Senior Vice President of Wells Fargo Investments, is a strong advocate for LLS’s efforts towards finding cancer solutions because his mother is a cancer survivor. He resides in Ross, California.
|11. Elizabeth Matzner|
Elizabeth Matzner, owner of Empress PR, has a philanthropic “gene” that comes from her grandfather, who has been involved with charity work through his restaurant in Palm Springs called Spencer’s. Last year, Elizabeth was a team member of her friend Yuliya Singo’s campaign and the experience inspired her to run this year. She is dedicated to finding a cure for cancer because her mother is a breast cancer survivor. In addition to her work with LLS, Elizabeth is passionate about animals and also volunteers her time with the SPCA.
|12. Sandra Acevedo-Hanns|
Sandra Acevedo-Hanns is a passionate leader in the San Francisco community. Although originally an accomplished professional dancer from Santiago, Chile, she now runs One World, One Voice, a non-profit organization true to her commitments to oneness in peace, environmental preservation, green living and youth empowerment, in the Bay Area.
Sandra’s interest in partnering with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in the 2011 Man & Woman of the Year campaign is very personal, having lost her son, Carlo, to Hodgkin’s Lymphoma due to complications from a bone marrow transplant. This is her way of honoring her son’s memory.