Monday, May 16, 2016
MWOY Candidate: Leigh Costa
Leigh Costa is one of the dynamic 2016 North Texas Man & Woman of the Year candidates. She first learned about blood cancers when a close friend was diagnosed. Below she answers several questions about her connection to blood cancers and her decision to run for NTX Woman of the Year.
Name: Leigh Costa
Own and operate Costa Sports Marketing; a full service advertising and sports marketing agency
Connection to Blood Cancers:
In 2012 I swabbed to enter the national registry (Be the Match) after my friend Jacque was diagnosed with AML. In late 2013 I was notified that I was a perfect match for a 49 year-old male who I had never met and knew nothing about. I immediately flew to Denver to do further testing with the transplant specialists and after being cleared by the doctors, underwent a peripheral blood stem cell transplant (PBSC) in February of 2014.
Why do you support LLS:
I anxiously awaited the one-year mark after my donation when I would hopefully have the opportunity to meet my recipient. After all this was someone who now had my blood type, ailments, allergies…all the good AND bad…and while I would do it all over again no questions asked, I flew across the country, spent 10 hours not moving in a hospital bed with my mom holding my hair back while I got violently ill repeated times, and had become a human pin cushion for the two months leading up to the transplant. Needless to say, even though I had never met this man I undoubtedly felt a strong connection to him.
Unfortunately I received a phone call exactly one year later with the news that he had passed away. I remember not being able to speak and tears immediately filling my eyes as they told me his family was grateful they had received more time with him than previously expected. That was great that he got some extra time, and I was glad to be able to provide them that, but I was absolutely CRUSHED. I realized if I was so affected and never even knew this man, how the family and friends of all those diagnosed and battling must feel.
The GREAT news is that my friend Jacque received a transplant from a donor in Germany and she is healthy, strong and here with us today because of evolving research and treatment. She recently got to go to Germany to meet her donor and his family and thank him in person for what he had done.
Through my journey I got the chance to see first hand the strides we’ve made in research and treatment save a friend's life. Sadly, I also experienced devastation and the reality that we still haven’t found a cure, and I will continue to support LLS in honor of my recipient and all the others who have lost their battle with blood cancers until we do!
Spread awareness and educate the general public on how much progress we’ve made and continue to make toward ending blood cancers with their support. I also highly encourage those that cannot financially support the cause at this time to at least take two seconds to swab their cheek and enter the national registry as they too could one day get the opportunity to save a life.
Where can people follow your campaign during the 10-weeks: check out my website at www.costasportsmktg.com and campaign photos/updates on social media sites Twitter (@costasportsmktg) and Facebook.
The North Texas Man & Woman of the Year campaign wraps up with a black tie Grand Finale Gala on Saturday, June 18th. Reserve your table today.