As Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler prepares for the 2012 season he is also finding opportunities to make a big difference in charitable causes in the Kansas City community. In the spirit of giving back, Besler will join forces with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) during the months of March, April and May for the Man of the Year campaign. Besler will join other dynamic, passionate candidates engaged in a spirited ten-week fundraising competition to earn the LLS’s Man of the Year title, by raising funds for blood cancer research.
Fans, friends and family interested in donating to Besler’s Man of the Year campaign may do so by making a donation on Besler’s LLS webpage or may bid on five premium items on Besler’s personal Twitter page in early March with new items appearing every two weeks ending on April 26.
The 2012 campaign kicked-off on March 1 and runs through May 11. Last year the candidates raised over $250,000 for blood cancer research and patient services. A large portion of the money raised will stay in the Kansas City area. This year LLS has designated $1.27 million for a new Therapy Acceleration Program at The University of Kansas Medical Center.
“I am honored to partner with the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and participate in the Man of the Year campaign,” said Besler. “I am both astounded and humbled by the generosity and compassion of our community and hope my efforts will add to the success of the event and dollars to put towards blood cancer research.”
Besler, a third year professional, was drafted by his hometown team in 2009. Before landing a starting role with Sporting Kansas City, he helped Notre Dame gain four straight berths to the NCAA Championship, including the program’s first two trips to the quarterfinals in 2006 and 2007. As a central defender, Besler became the highest-ever MLS SuperDraft pick in Notre Dame history as he was selected eighth overall by Sporting Kansas City in 2009.
Momentum followed Besler home. In 2011 he was named to the MLS All-Star team and was featured in 32 MLS regular season matches for Sporting Kansas City, playing the full 90 minutes in each one making him the team leader in minutes played last season.
Besler is committed to not only excellence on the field but also making a difference in his community. Besler will rally fans, family and friends around his campaign to be named Man of the Year but most important raise dollars for LLS to fund blood cancer research. LLS will award the title of the chapter’s Man of the Year, based on money raised, each dollar counting as one vote. Besler and other candidates run in honor of the Boy and Girl of the Year, who are local cancer patient survivors and sources of inspiration to others.
About the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Man of the Year campaign
The Man & Woman of the Year campaign began in 1990 in San Francisco to honor John Spencer, a valued employee at Hastings Clothier and a Society volunteer. Spencer died of leukemia at the age of 39. It was in Spencer’s memory that Hastings began supporting the Society’s Northern California Chapter with the San Francisco Man & Woman of the Year event. Now, more than 40 Man & Woman of the Year campaigns occur across the nation.