Recognizing his experience supporting charities – including the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the American Heart Association – a Portland, Oregon, business nominated Portland Local 43 member Tommy Schroeder to compete in the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) Man and Woman of the Year philanthropic campaign competition, which began March 2 and ends May 10.

The man and woman who raise the most money for the LLS will receive the national title of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year. Schroeder’s goal is to raise $150,000. Schroeder’s fundraising team is made up of fire fighters from across the country, and he hopes more IAFF members will support his efforts.

Schroeder says, “If you raise $50,000, you can choose the research project for which the money will be used. I thought, why not aim to help three projects?” If he wins this national title, then he’ll use the title as a platform for a blood cancer-related cause.

“As an IAFF member and fire fighter, I know many men and women affected by cancer due to on-the-job exposures,” he says. Cancer rates among fire fighters are 14 percent higher than the general population. “It is my wish to use my position as LLS Man of the Year to raise awareness about cancer in the fire service.”

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The LLS funds research for every type of blood cancer, including leukemia, lymphoma and myeloma. The charity has invested nearly $1.3 billion in cancer research since it was founded in 1949, leading to breakthroughs in immunotherapy, genomics and personalized medicine that are improving and saving the lives of patients.