Over the past few months, Ft. Thomas native Jamie Baker was actively campaigning for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's (LLS) Woman of the Year title. Baker's campaign consisted of fundraising events throughout the area, and she also collected donations through her page on the LLS website. After being featured in a Street Class article back in February, many of our readers were interested in Baker's fundraising efforts. I'm happy to report that Baker raised an astonishing $90,365 between March 21, 2014 and May 30, 2014.
Out of the 13 candidates who competed in the fundraising campaign, a total of $544,000 was raised for LLS. Baker's fundraising total wasn't far behind this year's winner, who brought in $114,000. Although Baker fell short of being named the Woman of the Year, she certainly should be proud of her campaign.
During the course of the campaign, Baker had many memorable experiences. Two stick out to her in particular: the naming of a grant and working a booth at The Taste of Cincinnati. According to Baker, any candidate who raises over $50,000 is allowed the opportunity to name an LLS funded grant themselves. Baker didn't have to look far to decide on a name for her grant. She chose to use it as an opportunity to honor two family members. “I will be naming it The Dixie and Denny Johnson Memorial Grant, after my Grandma Johnson who passed from lymphoma and my mom’s oldest brother Denny who passed as a young child from leukemia in the 1940s,” said Baker.
Another memorable experience for Baker was spending a weekend working for tip money at a beer booth during The Taste of Cincinnati. Baker's weekend slinging drinks for a good cause not only helped her campaign overall, but also provided her with the extra boost she needed to complete the campaign. “I had a sign on the back of my shirt that told people I had beaten cancer and encouraged tips to benefit LLS. This prompted many people to come up to me and give me a high five, fist bump or even ask for a hug as they congratulated me, thanked me for raising money or told me that they also were a survivor. Given that this fundraiser was in the last week of my 10 week campaign, their show of gratitude gave me new energy to finish out the campaign strong,” said Baker.
Baker had so many great experiences throughout the campaign that she found it difficult to pinpoint a favorite fundraising event. “I really loved them all and my team worked so hard to plan each one. They each had their own atmosphere and different group of wonderful people in attendance. I will say I had a lot of fun guest bartending at Newberry’s Coffee and Bistro in Newport with McKenzie Hicks, fellow Ft. Thomas native cancer survivor. We were both pretty nervous at first but got the hang of it quickly and had a lot of fun,” said Baker.
The campaign also provided Baker with an opportunity to hear other inspirational stories and meet new people. The overwhelming support of friends, family, local businesses, and even strangers is something that Baker will carry with her for years to come. “I signed up for this campaign because I wanted to help cure cancer and raise awareness around the value of research dollars today, not someday,” said Baker. “The support of family, friends, co-workers and amazing support of Ft. Thomas businesses, in particular, made this campaign a success. I am grateful for everyone’s support and encouragement along the way. These dollars are going to make a difference in the fight against cancer.”
In addition to the many friends, family, co-workers, and strangers who donated to Baker's campaign, she had support from many local businesses. Fort Thomas showed once again how generous our community can be, especially when it's for a cause as important as cancer research. Baker is quick to thank some of the local businesses who helped make her campaign a success by donating goods or services for auction. “Many thanks to the Ft. Thomas businesses that supported the campaign: Becky Hicks/esbe Jewelry Design, Bowman Framing, Carly Leopold/Origami Owl, DB SoundCo, Fit Philosophie, Ft. Thomas Central, Ft. Thomas Family Dentistry/Dr. Hekmatayr, Ft. Thomas Florist, Ft. Thomas Matters, Jewels on the Avenue, Love Letters Gifts, Salon 602, Shari’s on the Avenue, Starbucks, The Blue Marble, The Olde Fort Pub,” said Baker. She also secured sponsorships from distinguished local companies including The Johnson Electric Supply Company, GE Aviation, WIC Inc, Kinetic Design Group, Benjamin Yocum & Heather LLC, and Cut It Up Hair and Nail Salon.