Raising money for LLS is personal for 8News’ Kerri O’Brien

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — For several weeks now, 8News’ Kerri O’Brien has been raising money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society in a quest to be named their “Woman of the Year.”

The woman who raises the most money for LLS earns the title. But you may have wondered: why did she take on this mission?

“It’s personal for me,” Kerri explained. “Kieran Holohan, a dear family friend, groomsman in my wedding and my husband’s childhood buddy, was diagnosed with AML, Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

“My rug was pulled out under me.  I just didn’t know what to expect, what to think,” Holohan said during a recent visit to Richmond.

He was recently a keynote speaker at Kerri’s  RVA On Display fashion show and fundraiser. She owes his presence to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

“All I knew was, I thought it was a death sentence,” Holohan admitted.

Doctors gave him only a 30 percent chance of living.

“I was just thinking about my wife and my daughter,” Holohan said.

It was devastating; after years of trying, he and his wife had just started a family.

“Riley was only 8 months old at that point,” Holohan said.

He was angry, bitter and scared by the diagnosis The Leukemia &  Lymphoma Society was among the first to reach out with support.

“From day one, the very first day I got leukemia, the first day I was in the hospital I was contacted by The Leukemia & Lymphoma society and I was paired up with someone who went precisely what I went through.,” Holohan explained.

Holohan learned of something called precision medicine, a groundbreaking and personalized approach to treating AML that involves genetic mapping to determine how best to treat the cancer cells. LLS has been funding the clinical trials.

“I think that Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is the single greatest cancer non-profit on earth,” Holohan said.

Holohan is cancer free, running marathons and now the father of two girls. Proof to Kerri that every dollar you give to LLS is helping to save lives.

Kerri is asking for the public to join her for a fundraiser on Thursday, May 11th at Morton’s Steakhouse in Shockoe Slip. She’ll be a guest server from 5 to 9 p.m.

There will be a steak sandwich special, drinks and raffles. A portion of all sales will go to LLS.

Click here for more information.

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