North Central News

Local man, woman compete for title

A young Karen Gresham and her mother, who passed away from leukemia.

The 2019 Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) Greater Phoenix Man and Woman of the Year (MWOY) Campaign is approaching the finale, with a record number of community leaders raising money for life-saving research and patient support this year. The annual campaign raised more than $1.25 million in 2018 and has set a fundraising goal of $2 million for 2019.

Twenty-one candidates from across the Valley and more than 220 team members are in the midst of their campaigns to raise awareness and funds to support the mission of LLS. The 10-week campaign will culminate in the Grand Finale Gala at JW Marriott Camelback Inn on June 1, at which time the man and woman who have raised the most money for cancer research will be crowned the Greater Phoenix Man and Woman of the Year.

This year’s Greater Phoenix Man & Woman of the Year Candidates include two North Central Phoenix residents. Karen Gresham is a third-generation Arizona native who lost her mother to leukemia at a young age. She went to Phoenix Shadow Mountain High School and Arizona State University. She competes in triathlons including Ironman and ultra-distance trail runs and lives in North Central with her husband and three boys. To view her fundraising page, click here.

A young Gibson McKay and his mother, who passed away from lymphoma.

Gibson McKay is a public affairs consultant and Arizona native who lost his mom to lymphoma. He went to Northern Arizona University. His wife is a member of the well-known Babbitt family and they reside in North Central with their three sons. To visit McKay’s fundraising page, click here.

The Man & Woman of the Year campaign is a national philanthropic competition to support blood cancer research. In the last 19 years, 40 percent of all cancer treatments were first approved for blood cancer and in the past two years, LLS funded 34 of the 39 new FDA-approved blood cancer therapies.

MWOY Candidates form powerful fundraising teams and compete in honor of two local children who are blood cancer survivors. The 2019 Boy of the Year is fourth-grader Julien Herrera of Goodyear and the 2019 Girl of the Year is seventh-grader Bella Hicks of Cave Creek.

For more information about the campaign or to purchase tables or tickets to the Grand Finale, visit

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