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“Woman of the Year” nominee already a winner

Jalesa Reed,‘13, will soon discover whether she is the recipient of the 2019 “Woman of the Year” award, given annually by the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society (LLS), the largest nonprofit health organization devoted to fighting blood cancer.

Regardless of the outcome, the Southside teacher--and only person from a small town among eight in competition vying to raise the most funds for the LLS--already feels like a winner.

For starters, her son, Michael, is alive.

Diagnosed at three with leukemia, his body at age 5 has finally adjusted to effects of his treatment, though he goes through rough spells, according to Reed, and will continue his daily regimen of pills until at least February 2021.

“But overall, he still goes to school, he gets to do fun things. I don’t think he realizes how sick he got. He’s a real champ,” she said.

When first invited to compete for the “Woman of the Year” designation, Reed wasn’t sure she was up to the task. Still, she and her husband knew the Lymphoma and Leukemia Society was a powerful ally to many families such as hers.

Ultimately, she heeded the phrase that “God doesn’t call the qualified, he qualifies the called.”

Indeed, Reed’s first financial goal was met almost immediately, so she quickly moved the marker up to $15,000. Through grassroots efforts and local fundraisers in and around the Batesville area, Reed has exceeded her new goal well before the 10-week fundraising period is scheduled to end.

Reed’s new goal is $25,000.

“My campaign has been built off a bunch of little things adding up; it has literally been $100 here, $1,000 there, all adding up to a grand total that is unbelievable,” she said. “It’s impressive to see what this town does when called upon.”’

Donations on Reed’s behalf may also be made online or by check:

For online donations, visit https://pages.mwoy.org/gat/ar19/jreedb

To mail a check, please send to LLS Arkansas Division, Attn. Bryan Adams, 401 Scott St., Suite 2, Little Rock, AR 72201 (Jalesa Reed in the memo line).

The Lymphoma and Leukemia Society announces its winner from among eight candidates for “Woman of the Year” during its annual gala at 6:30 p.m., May 3, at the DoubleTree Hotel in downtown Little Rock. Visit mwoy.org for more.