Black and white image of a red heart in someone's hand
February 19, 2021 By Erika R. Whitehead

Meet Our Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year Candidates: Joe Hesse and Skye Keane

Editor’s note: Shortly after publishing this article, Joe Hesse withdrew from the LLS Man and Woman of the Year Campaign. We wish him the best and will continue our support of our remaining candidate.

For Joe Hesse and Skye Keane, the decision to raise money for a great cause was easy. Hesse and Keane will represent Vogelzang Law and Cancer Wellness as candidates in this year’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year (LLS MWOY) campaign.

The 10-week campaign allows each candidate to engage in a philanthropic competition to support cancer research. Candidates and their teammates raise funds for LLS in honor of local blood cancer survivors, the “Boy and Girl of the Year.” The coveted “Man and Woman of the Year” title is awarded to the candidates whose teams raise the most money. The top male and female candidates in the country are awarded with the national title. Candidates are supported by LLS staff, family, friends and community members.

Joe Hesse, one of two candidates selected to represent Vogelzang Law and Cancer Wellness in this year’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year campaign. Photo courtesy of Sarah Bell.

“I accepted the ‘Man of the Year’ nomination for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society because I’m very fortunate to be successful in what I do in my business,” says Hesse, an audiovisual business owner and former musician. “I wanted to be able to try and help other people that were less fortunate and, you know, just needed a helping hand.”

This is the first time that Vogelzang Law and Cancer Wellness have submitted candidates for the annual event. Vogelzang Law public relations manager and cW certified cancer coach, Mirela Kopier, serves on this year’s LLS MWOY leadership board and was responsible for selecting Hesse and Keane as candidates this year.

“When I thought of who I was nominating, I thought of people who had a philanthropic spirit,” Kopier says. “First and foremost, it’s something that’s in their heart, something that I’ve seen in them.”

Kopier chose Hesse because of his experience donating to the Wounded Warrior Project and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. He enjoys the opportunity to give back as often as he can. It is a passion that Kopier also recognized in Keane, along with her vivacious personality.

Skye Keane, one of two candidates selected to represent Vogelzang Law and Cancer Wellness in this year’s Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Man and Woman of the Year campaign. Photo courtesy of Sarah Bell.

“Skye is full of life and has a heart of gold,” Kopier shares. “She is sweet and compassionate but has a sass to her that draws people in. I knew she would put everything into the campaign.”

For Hesse and Keane, it is an exciting, new experience.

“I feel I was put on this earth to do more than just work and go through daily things,” says Keane, a travel advisor for cruise planners. “If I can help anybody and make a difference, then I think we all should.”

For Keane, her focus is on helping children who have been affected by leukemia, lymphoma and other cancers. Although she sympathizes with adults who have been diagnosed with cancer, it is the children who hold a special place in her heart. “I think we’ve all been touched and hit by cancer, but this especially hit my heart with the children,” she says.

The highly anticipated campaign, which brings together candidates from around the country, kicks off on March 25. At that time, Hesse and Keane will begin accepting donations. In preparation for the kickoff, both candidates have already started curating their support networks.

“It’s been challenging to find the people that are going to, you know, give the effort that’s needed to raise this money for so many people in need,” Hesse shares. “It’s just exciting to get people excited about that.”

Funds from the LLS MWOY campaign will go toward developing cancer research, learning more about blood cancer information, furthering education and providing support. LLS also supports patients in their communities through LLS chapters and driving policies that increase access to new treatments.

Hesse and Keane are looking forward to the campaign kickoff in March and encourage everyone they know to get involved by donating. “I’m looking forward to the challenge,” Hesse admits. “I think it’s gonna be a lot of fun to get people motivated, and I’m a pretty competitive person!”

For more information about the LLS MWOY campaign, visit their website at mwoy.org.