Grove City resident Tina Badurina is competing in the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's 2014 Central Ohio Woman of the Year campaign.
Along with the other nominees, she is raising money to support the LLS's mission to cure leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin's disease and myeloma, and improve the quality of life of patients and their families. The male and female candidates who raise the most money are named the Man and Woman of the Year.
"Every dollar I raise is one vote for my candidacy," Badurina said.
Badurina, 52, is a lifelong Grove City resident, a 1980 graduate of Grove City High School and vice president and director of marketing and public relations at YMCA of Central Ohio.
As part of her campaign, Badurina has been partnered with Evan Schroeder, the 2014 Boy of the year. Evan, now 8, was 10 months old when he was diagnosed with juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia, and in 2008, he underwent bone marrow transplants.
"It's been such a blessing to get to know Evan and his family," Badurina said. "He's just such an inspiration."
Badurina first got involved with the LLS after her father died of chronic myelo-monocytic leukemia in 2008.
"My dad lived in Grove City for the majority of his life," Badurina said. "He helped with the building of the original Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church."
She added that her father was very active with the church, a longtime volunteer at Mount Carmel West, a member of the honor guard for the Grove City branch of the American Legion and a supporter of the YMCA and Charity Newsies.
"When he was a young boy, Charity Newsies gave him his first winter coat," Badurina said.
Badurina said she can distinctly remember the day her father died, just shy of a year after his initial diagnosis.
"He was over age 70," Badurina said. "When you're over 70, they don't do bone marrow transplants on you."
Two days before he died, Tony Badurina drove himself to chemotherapy, but on the day of his death, Tina Badurina drove him and her mother to the doctor for a followup appointment because he wasn't feeling well. The doctor in turn told them to go to the hospital because his leukemia had become acute.
"The doctor at the time said he had days," she said. "He died three hours later. There was no time to wrap our minds around what was happening. It was tough."
Since then, Badurina has worked with the LLS so that no one has to go without life-saving treatment.
"They've just made such amazing strides," she said. "They're doing incredible work."
Helping others through the LLS, Badurina said, has also helped her family heal since her father's passing.
"I know he's very proud," she said.
To learn more about the 2014 Man/Woman of the Year Campaign, visit mwoy.org/coh or Badurina's fundraising page at bit.ly/1otTaw5. Checks payable to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society can be sent to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, ATTN: TEAM BADURINA, LLS, Central Ohio Chapter, 2225 Citygate Drive, Suite E Columbus, OH 43219.
All donations must be received by May 14.