Let’s start the summer with a celebration! Two weeks ago, the co-host of our Good Leadership Breakfast Series earned the “Woman of the Year” designation by the Leukemia Lymphoma Society of Minnesota. On Saturday, May 19, Julie McDonough claimed the stage in joyous, graceful elegance as a huge crowd cheered her name. Her smile was radiant and magnetic.
Julie’s Woman of the Year journey began when her two-year-old son Cole was diagnosed with Leukemia. As a family, they embraced the challenge and partnered with the healthcare system to give Cole every chance. “We are so fortunate to have a wonderful family support system, and a fantastic medical community in Minnesota that saves lives,” Julie shared with me. She told her story to the Good Leadership Breakfast guests in April, and asked for our help in fundraising.
What I saw was a woman on a mission: she hosted parties, involved family and friends, and approached business partners with an artful ask: “Would you help us raise money for kids and families who are facing Leukemia or Lymphoma in Minnesota? There are still kids who don’t get the support they need.”
And we helped! Julie’s contingency at the gala included more than 16 tables of ten people to support her at the Grand Finale event. When the totals were announced, Julie raised more than $150,000 in a few short weeks to accept the title: Woman of the Year. Cade James Miller was the Man of the Year.
Those of us living and working in the upper levels of society often lose sight of our wealth and privilege. But, when kids have blood cancer it brings us all back to the same level. So the philanthropic work of Julie McDonough is all about making sure kids and families of any economic situation can survive the journey, and look at their cancer in the rear view mirror.
What I admire about what Julie did the most is this: there are fundraising galas every weekend. Every one had a good cause, with good leadership. Julie stepped up in ways that were role-modeling the spirit of “what’s possible?” for everyone in her path. Her goodness was magnetic. We all saw it. Especially her son, Cole.
Good leaders dedicate their lives to significant pursuits. And they engage people in the journey, because nothing significant ever happens alone.
Please join me in celebrating Julie McDonough, LLS Woman of the Year. You can email her a note from here.