By Kate Quesada
Donelle White is looking for support in her campaign for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Woman of the Year, but it is donations, not votes, that she needs.
White is running against seven other women from the Suncoast Chapter of LLS to see who can raise the most money for the charity before the culmination of the campaign on June 3. Every dollar raised during the campaign is equal to a vote and the person with the most votes wins the title and the honor of bringing in much needed funds to fight the disease.
An attorney with the B. Lee Elam P.A. law group in Brandon, White has a long history of fundraising that started after she lost her special needs daughter almost 20 years ago.
“She passed away at three and a half. Through her whole life, I battled to get her all benefits she was entitled to, but health insurance didn’t cover it all,” said White. “This was the beginning of my advocacy for children with medical issues.”
Since that time, White has worked with the early intervention program and Children’s Medical Services, served as president of the Board of Infants and Young Children and participated in the Mrs. Florida International pageant to bring attention to the underfunding of these programs in Florida.
White is also a cancer survivor who, since becoming cancer free in 2004, has worked with various cancer foundations including working as co-chair of the Brandon chapter of the American Cancer Society and walking 60 miles in the Susan G. Komen 3-Day Walk.
“Now it is my time to shine as a Woman of the Year candidate for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society with my aggressive goal,” said White. “Research into blood cancers is the most far reaching because it impacts across the board. All types of cancer can be helped by knowing more about how the disease affects the blood.”
According to the LLS website, through programs like Woman of the Year, LLS has invested more than $1 billion in research to advance breakthrough therapies for blood cancers. It also states that almost half of the new anti-cancer drugs approved by the U.S. FDA from 2000 through 2013 were original designed to treat blood cancers and LLS has helped advance most of them.
White and her campaign team have scheduled a number of events to help raise funds including a successful bingo night that kicked off her campaign in March and a night at Hamburger Mary’s in early April. She also has planned many small business parties with proceeds going to the charity and is working to schedule a movie night in May.
“I feel so supported by the Brandon community,” said White. “No one has hesitated to help me, they’ve given so graciously.”
In addition to monetary donations for her campaign, White is also looking for silent auction and live auction prizes which will raise much needed funds during the celebration gala in June. Anyone interested in helping can call 967-5757 or search her name at www.mwoy.org.