Rob McGowan wants to be Man of the Year. And his quest is far nobler than anything to do with excellence on or off an athletic field.
Instead, it is all about philanthropy. The Lakelands resident and Kentlands Main Street business owner is participating in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) 30th Annual Man & Woman of the Year Campaign, a 10-week competition to raise money that will “not only support for LLS research, but (also) patient support services, advocacy, public and professional education and community services,” McGowan said.
McGowan and candidates in more than 80 communities across the country have formed fundraising teams that solicit contributions to the cause in honor of two children designated as Children of the Year—this time, a 4-year-old boy and a 5-year-old girl who have forms of leukemia. The campaign kicked off March 21 and will culminate in a grand finale gala on June 1 in downtown D.C.
Encouraged to participate by a friend whose brother is a survivor, McGowan had considered entering the competition before. This time, he said, “I decided to step up and actually do it.” He has a substantial personal stake, having accompanied his mother through her medical journey for the past seven years. Her battle started with breast cancer, which then metastasized into her bones.
While the stated mission of the LLS is “to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma and improve the quality of life of patients and their families,” McGowan’s wife, Melissa, pointed out that LLS research “cross-pollinates.” She noted that a friend with breast cancer benefited from these studies.
“Many LLS-supported therapies not only help blood cancer patients, but are also now used to treat patients with rare forms of stomach and skin cancers and are in clinical trials for patients with lung, brain, breast, pancreatic and prostate cancers,” Rob McGowan pointed out. “And LLS funded drugs—like targeted therapies and immunotherapies—are now saving thousands of lives every day.”
“Our team is working to raise as much as possible over the next 10 weeks. Every dollar we raise counts as one vote for my team’s candidate. The candidate whose team tallies the most votes earns the prestigious title,” McGowan said.
“Everyone wins when cancer loses,” McGowan said. “Thanks to your support, my efforts will help fund therapies and treatments that are saving lives. Over the years, support from people like you has been responsible for the blood cancer advancements that have doubled, tripled, and in some cases, quadrupled the survival rate for some blood cancers.”
Assisted by Melissa and his IT company R3, McGowan’s team—which he has named Find A CUR3—is asking for personal donations and soliciting sponsorships from businesses.
Melissa is planning a happy hour fundraiser at Grape Escape on Kentlands Boulevard for 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, April 25. Participants will be able to make donations, take a chance in a 50/ 50 raffle while sipping on libations of their choice and listen to the music of the popular local band Donuts for Dinner.