By Sophia Ricco
Advancing blood cancer research through fundraising was a challenge Asaf German and his “Dream Team” proudly accepted.
They defied expectations, raising $461,000.
German, a Lloyd Neck resident, was nominated by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Long Island chapter as Man of the Year, tasking him to raise money for cancer education and treatments over a 10-week period. German set a new fundraising record for the chapter surpassing the previous amount by $243,000 through donations, sponsorships and a cocktail party. With over 75 people, his massive team enlisted project managers and previous candidates to assist the cause.
“When a lot of passion, like-minded individuals get together, there’s almost nothing we can’t accomplish,” German said.
Throughout the country, candidates collected donations with each dollar counting as a vote. This year, the Man and Woman of the Year campaign raised $52 million. German ranked eighth nationally out of 936 candidates.
Huntington Supervisor Chad Lupinacci and the town board honored German’s accomplishment at their July 16 meeting presenting him a proclamation for his dedication.
“Asaf has consistently shown his commitment to serving those suffering from these illnesses by encouraging others to get involved in the fundraising campaign for the Boy and Girl of the Year, who are local pediatric cancer survivors,” Lupinacci said.
With no experience in fundraising, the real estate attorney and father of two sought advice from past nominees who emphasized ample preparation. With a strict time frame to only accept donations between March 28 and June 6, the “Dream Team” reached out to sponsors months in advance, then collected when the time came.
“It’s a 10-week campaign but I worked on it for eight months, five hours a day,” German said. “As anyone who knows me knows, I get to work at 4 in the morning and I don’t have five minutes free. But it’s such an incredible cause and for once in my life, I was given an opportunity to help so many people.”
The team sent out letters locally, requesting donations and hosted a huge event that raised over $70,000. The “Racing to a Cure” cocktail party was a lavish affair with over 400 guests mingling at Ferrari Maserati of Long Island. Ferrari of Long Island owner Soojin Kim, a cancer survivor, donated the space after speaking to German about the magnitude of the campaign.
“I only had one opportunity. Being Man of the Year is a once in a lifetime thing,” German said. “I wanted to make sure when I’m done with this campaign, I look back and I left no stone unturned.”
Grateful for his and his family’s health, German was inspired by Boy and Girl of the Year Jesse Pallas of Miller Place and Morgan Sim of Port Washington. Survivors of leukemia, they symbolize the children the campaign benefits. When German learned of Pallas’ love for police and firefighters, he called in a favor that made a night with Pallas’ family special.
“We’re having dinner and they ring the doorbell. It’s police officers that say they are looking for Jesse,” German said. “They ask him if he wants to ride around in the police car. This kid was so happy… Then the fire truck came wailing down the block. They took him for a ride with sirens, and lights and gave him a hat.”
The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society put the funds from Man and Woman of the Year to good use. The money pays for research, blood cancer education and support, and increase access for patients. The society is grateful for German’s “all in” effort.
“Asaf is an exceptional volunteer leader who is passionate and determined, and a leader in his community,” campaign director, Meagan Doyle said. “Together, we are getting closer to LLS’s goal of a world without cancer.”