Source: Indys Child Parenting Magazine

Honored Heroes of the Indiana Chapter of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
Amanda Fagan

March 01, 2014

Each year since 2009, the Indiana Chapter of Leukemia and Lymphoma Society hosts the Man and Woman of the Year campaign. Like other LLS campaigns, an Honored Hero serves as a focal point of motivation, driving candidates to raise as much money as possible. Since 2009, the campaign has grown from 9 to 14 candidates, and has collectively risen over $3 million in revenue thru volunteers’ efforts.

Over 1,130,000 people in the United States are faced with living with a blood cancer. Approximately every 10 minutes someone dies from a blood related cancer. Leukemia causes more deaths than any other cancer among children, adolescents and young adults under the age of 20. With these statistics and no cure yet in place, consider yourself incredibly fortunate if these horrific diseases have not had a direct or indirect affect on your personal life. Through tireless volunteers and significant monetary donations, major strides have been made in the fight against Leukemia and Lymphoma however; the need remains critical-- this is why MWOY exists, simply put. It is our mission to exceed over $684,000 this year, in effort to continue finding a cure for blood cancers.

So what is, really, an Honored Hero, you ask?

An Honored Hero is someone who provides inspiration and support for the fundraising programs of The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. An Honored Hero is anyone who is being treated for, or is a survivor of, leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease or myeloma.

Meet Maeve and Zaki, our 2014 Honored Heros for the Man and Woman of the Year campaign. The 13 candidates (7 men, 6 women) will be raising money in honor of these two brave, adorable, energetic, sweet, and spunky children. May we not forget to honor and mention their parents & families, as they, too, experienced challenging times during the course of Maeve and Zaki’s initial diagnosis and treatment.

For me, as a mother of two little ones, I am in complete awe of these parents’ strength; their experience very much puts into prospective what we face on a daily basis as parents. Being a parent provides the opportunity to be selfless and make decisions that are not always easy or emotionless. To add to this, Maeve and Zaki have siblings, which means mom and dad were not only faced with focusing on their medical needs, but making sure their other children’s needs were also being met. I have had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with Kathleen and Brian Bigelow, as well as Zaki’s parents, Sobia Khan and Shariq Siddiqui. Both Zaki and Maeve’s family have each been very compassionate about sharing their story and engaging with our candidates who are running for Man and Woman of the Year; each providing positive energy on this 10 week campaign.

Zaki, now 5, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), the most common form of childhood leukemia, on November 14, 2010. He is in remission as of May 2013! Zaki has an older brother and sister, Fatima Khan and Amal Siddiqui and a younger brother, Safaa Siddiqui. He loves horses, enjoys playing soccer and watching movies. He and his family are honored to serve as the 2014 Boy of the Year. Maeve, now 4, was diagnosed with ALL on August 17, 2011. Her last treatment was on October 21, 2013. Maeve has two sisters, Nuala and Aoife. She enjoys going to school, playing with Disney princesses, painting and dancing. Maeve’s family is thankful for the work that each candidate does so that LLS can keep helping to make a difference so that the cure for ALL can go from 95% to 100%!

These children and their stories came with a great cost, but certainly share as a gleam of hope. Sobia and Kathleen provide us with a view from their world thru our weekly blogs. You can learn more about these blogs by following: http://lls.sitepotion.com (The Bigelow’s Blog and Zaki’s Blog)

We are thankful for the generosity of time and effort given by our 2014 MWOY candidates who will, furthermore, be fundraising up thru the evening we honor the Man and the Woman at our Grand Finale Gala, held on Saturday, May 10th at the JW Marriott. You can learn more about this year’s campaign by visiting: www.mwoy.org.

If you are interested in learning more about Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, please visit www.lls.org. Should you have questions about MWOY, please contact Amanda Fagan Amanda.Fagan@lls.org .