Professor raises money for leukemia research

GW Professor Charles Toftoy said since discovering he was one of 19 business leaders in the D.C. area nominated for Bloomingdale’s Man of the Year Award, he has been devoting much of his time and energy to raising money for the Leukemia Society of America.

I’ve never done anything like this before, Toftoy said as he explained his involvement in a fund-raising effort for leukemia research.

Nominees of the award must have a good standing in the community, be active in charitable causes and demonstrate leadership in their chosen profession.

As a nominee, Toftoy, an associate professor of management science, has begun a seven-week campaign to raise money for the LSA. Every dollar raised counts as one vote for him as Man of the Year, but Toftoy said helping children is the main motivation for his fundraising efforts.

One hundred percent of the contributions to this charity go to the Leukemia Society, which promotes leukemia research, Toftoy said.

Leukemia is the number one child-killing disease with an estimated 105,000 people affected in the United States, according to a pamphlet prepared by Toftoy’s task force.

Toftoy said one of the reasons he became involved was because he saw the improvements that were being made and realized more money was needed to continue improvement. For children, the five-year survival rate is now 73 percent, up from 18 percent in 1960.

He established a grass-roots campaign task force, comprised of seven graduate students and three undergraduate students, in order to increase fundraising.

Cindy Gardner, the campaign manager, has been in charge of mass mailings, auction donations, and a shopping event at Bloomingdale’s.

It is a great cause where you have the opportunity to really make a difference, Gardner said. A $150 contribution will support a leukemia researcher for an entire day.

Everything in the Bloomingdale’s department store will be sold at a 15-percent discount Nov. 11, and 10 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the LSA.

Volunteer Lily Hastings said she views working on the task force as an opportunity to give back to the community.

I really feel that when you are in a community you need to do something, or else your community suffers, she said.

Toftoy’s involvement with leukemia research came partially out of empathy for the victims’ suffering.

As a prostate cancer survivor I can understand what leukemia victims are going through, Toftoy said.

He said seeing children affected by leukemia was a central motivation for his campaign.

Toftoy said he attended the Bloomingdale’s kickoff event Oct. 5 and was drawn to the cause in a way he did not know was possible.

It was this guy who did it for me, he said pointing to a picture of Ryan Tomoff, a leukemia survivor who influenced his view of the disease. When I met Ryan I decided we’re going to go ahead with (the campaign).

Toftoy is accepting donations for the LSA out of Monroe Hall room 403.

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