On April 1, residents of San Antonio will gather at The Westin La Cantera Resort to “Mix & Mingle for a Cure,” from 5:30 to 8:30 pm, to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)’s Man & Woman of the Year campaign.
“I care deeply about children and was looking for a way to give back”
For the hosts of the event, Fernando Suarez, CFP, ® Northwestern Mutual, and local entrepreneur Bill Behnke, the resort plays an important role in their lives.
When Behnke’s two-year-old daughter Ella was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2003, his family lived at the Westin La Cantera while she was undergoing treatment. Because Ella’s white blood counts were low, she was very susceptible to infection, and could not be around other children. The Behnke family was in and out of the resort for two years.
“We needed a place where Ella would feel comfortable,” explained Behnke. “The Westin La Cantera played a special role in our lives then and has continued their generosity in support of this very important cause now.”
Today, Ella is a happy and healthy 9 year-old. For Suarez, Ella holds a special place in his heart and is one of the main reasons he became involved in the fundraiser.
“I care deeply about children and was looking for a way to give back,” Suarez said. “Ella goes to school with my daughter, so when my friend Bill approached me about participating in the Man & Woman of the Year campaign, I jumped on board.”
In the Man & Woman of the Year campaign, 12 local candidates compete to see who can raise the most money by April 15. They compete in honor of someone special in their lives who has been touched by cancer, as well as the LLS Boy & Girl of the Year and local blood cancer patients. Every dollar raised will count as one “vote” against cancer. The man and woman with the most “votes” will be awarded the title of 2010 Man & Woman of the Year at the grand finale celebration. The local Man & Woman of the Year go on to compete for the national title based on the amount of money raised.
“We all know it doesn't matter who raises the most money,” Suarez explained. “What matters is how much we raise collectively. Together, we want to beat last year’s total donations of $125,000. I’m grateful to the Westin for supporting this cause. We've all come together for something bigger than ourselves.”
Debra Knapp, KENS 5 Emmy award-winning anchor, will serve as Mistress of Ceremonies at Mix & Mingle for a Cure. The event will feature a hosted bar, hors d’ouvres and live music in the beautiful Grand Ballroom area of The Westin La Cantera. A minimum donation of $25 is requested, which qualifies guests for a number of prizes. If guests are not able to attend in person, the donation will still qualify them to participate in the prize drawings. All proceeds go directly to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society