By Renee Larr
On May 9 the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society named their man and woman of the year. This year’s woman of the year was Kelly Treinen, Promise Road Elementary Principle. Treinen raised over $87,000 to beat out her competition in a short 10 week period.
Trienen’s 18-year-old son, Michael was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, an aggressive cancer in the bone marrow, in 2007 just three weeks before his high school graduation. Trienen and her family became involved with the LALS during her son’s illness. Sadly, her son lost his battle with AML just one year later on May 25, 2008.
Trienen and her family created the Michael Trienen Foundation which seeks to assist and enhance the lives of individuals and their families suffering through AML. Treinen’s neighbor, Chris Yeaky, is actively involved with LLS and assists the family in hosting the MTF’s Turkey Trot each year on Thanksgiving. Treinen was convinced by Yeaky and her daughter to compete.
“We created a team and we focused on a letter writing campaign, an email campaign and we did social media through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. We had donations from complete strangers who wrote me and said they had family members diagnosed with leukemia and they wanted to pay it forward,” said Treinen.
Treinen’s team hosted events to raise funds as well. They created a stationary bike race, Let’s Lick Leukemia Dog Trot, a LLS brewery bus tour, a purse bingo event and a sporting clay shoot at Indiana Gun Club. Trienen raised $76,000 prior to the gala naming the winners. During the gala guests could bid on silent and live auction items. Treinen’s items netted $11,000 during the event.
Even though it is a competition Treinen felt they competitors worked together toward a common goal.
“I’m not saying this because I won but there were ten people up there that made a difference in the last ten weeks,” said Treinen.
Treinen describes herself as a competitive person but it was more important to her to raise money for LLS.
“When you’re hit with the death of a child I think that if you can make a difference and something can come out of that in such a positive way then winning meant a lot to me. It was near and dear to my heart. I think the fact that LLS is focusing on AML for their research, you know that’s what Michael died of, that signifies that we might find a cure for this,” said Treinen.