Vote (With Your Dollars) for Kelly Treinen: LLS Woman of the Year!
She didn’t intend to be involved with The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS), but when Kelly Treinen’s 18-year-old son, Michael, was diagnosed with leukemia in May of 2007 – just three weeks before his high school graduation – she was involved.
Michael was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), a very aggressive cancer in the bone marrow. It was discovered because of lumps in his neck that got significantly bigger in a short time. In December of 2007, after five rounds of chemotherapy, the lumps were gone, and he was declared to be in remission. Only a month later, he had relapsed: Michael died in May of 2008, just a year after his diagnoses.
While Michael was sick, he, his three sisters and parents participated in Light the Night, a fundraising walk for LLS. That was their first fundraising involvement with the organization. Michael had just gotten out of an induced coma two weeks prior, but he still walked for the team that was named after him.
The Treinen’s neighbor, Chris Yeakey, is very involved in LLS and helps the Treinen family host a Michael Treinen Foundation Turkey Trot every Thanksgiving morning. It started off quite small in 2008 with only 50 neighborhood people, and in 2014 the 5K run and 3K walk has expanded to more than 1,400 participants. The event has raised more than $20,000 for the foundation, which in turn contributes to Riley Children’s Hospital, LLS, Be The Match and families needing assistance. All three of Kelly’s daughters have something to offer to the foundation and the fundraiser. Meredith, the oldest, is an event planner, Madeline is in college for not-for-profit management, and Michele, the youngest, is in art school and created the Turkey Trot logo.
Treinen’s big contribution now is running for LLS’s Woman of the Year. It is a 10-week competition from Feb. 26 to May 8. The winners, who are given the title of Woman or Man of the Year, are the ones who raise the most money for LLS in that timeframe.
Treinen is holding events to raise money. On March 15, she will host Race to Anywhere, a stationary cycling event at Rally Rock in Noblesville. There are four riders to a team who can raise money or make a personal donation for the entry fee. On March 12 or 13, the Bringing in the Green party will take place downtown with a live band. A Brewery Bus Tour will be held in April. There will also be dinner parties and a bike ride at the end of April.
“We are also looking for people or companies to sponsor silent auction items and baskets for the big [Woman and Man of the Year] Gala in May,” says Treinen. At the end of that evening, the contestants’ fundraising totals will be announced. “If I win or if I raise $200,000, I’m going to shave my head, probably the next day,” declared Treinen with a giggle. Now, mind you, Treinen is the Principal of Promise Road Elementary.
She feels shaving her head is appropriate for the cause. “Women with breast cancer aren’t comfortable with losing their hair, and there are many men who aren’t comfortable with it either. But they don’t have a choice. I’m walking their walk a little bit,” said Treinen.
Treinen’s philanthropic spirit was something she acquired through Michael’s illness. “I was always a giving person, but it wasn’t a priority,” she said. “Now, I really want to give back.”
Much of that attitude came from the conversations their family had with Michael in the hospital. He really wanted the pain of his illness to mean something. He wanted to make a difference. In fact, even when he was in major pain, he always felt the need to bring a smile to the faces of the nurses, doctors or other kids at Riley, where, at 18 and 19 years old, he was the biggest kid in the playroom.
“I don’t want to win because I want to be Woman of the Year. I want to win because I want to give back,” said Treinen. “The neat piece of this is for every $50,000 we raise, we can have a research grant officially named for somebody. I want to have four of them. The first one will be in Michael’s name and the next three will be named for others that are connected with our campaign.”
“Cancer is a crappy disease! I would love to prevent anyone else from having to lose a child,” said Treinen.
If you are unable to participate in any of the events, Treinen is raising money through a direct donation website. Help Kelly become Woman of the Year by making a donation. Do it for the kids. Do it for the cause. If nothing else, do it to see Kelly completely BALD!